Author Topic: Jack Longstaff (1921-2020)  (Read 301 times)

Wowbagger

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Jack Longstaff (1921-2020)
« on: May 16, 2020, 04:07:00 pm »
My pal Enid drew this to my attention earlier today as Jack Longstaff's obituary was in the Times. He was, it seems, a revered organist, pianist and choir master renowned throughout Northern England. He was my piano teacher for a year, in my final year at Poulton-le-Fylde College, 1974-75.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/jack-longstaff-98-inspiring-blackburn-music-head-0d9btdljd

It is, of course, behind a paywall so I can't read the lot, but my pal Penny has promised to keep it for me.
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Mr Larrington

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Re: Jack Longstaff (1921-2020)
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2020, 06:51:28 pm »
Any relation to George?
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Wowbagger

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Re: Jack Longstaff (1921-2020)
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2020, 10:54:36 pm »
I was wondering that. It seems that Jack has a fair bit of progeny who are respected musicians. Where was George Longstaff from?
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Re: Jack Longstaff (1921-2020)
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2020, 10:42:40 am »
Staffordshire, I think.
I seem to remember a shop in Stafford.
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Genosse Brymbo

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Re: Jack Longstaff (1921-2020)
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2020, 10:51:09 am »
I was wondering that. It seems that Jack has a fair bit of progeny who are respected musicians. Where was George Longstaff from?
Chesterton, Stoke-on-Trent (place of my birth  :-[)
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Jaded

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Re: Jack Longstaff (1921-2020)
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2020, 11:29:37 am »
Quote
For a formidable music teacher whose pupils included the conductor Ivor Bolton, the organist Philip Crozier, and the Hallé chorus master Keith Orrell, Jack Longstaff learnt to play the piano relatively late. He was 17 and had already left West Leeds High School to start work at Kirkstall Forge. However, he found that he had a talent for the instrument, and went on to play the organ for Leeds Parish Church. A move to Lancashire followed where, having founded a boys’ choir in Stand, he provided voices for Sir John Barbirolli’s Hallé orchestra in Manchester.

Nonetheless, it was as the director of music for almost 20 years at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Blackburn that he established a reputation as a music pedagogue throughout the north of England. The breadth and depth of the musical education he gave his pupils was remarkable: boys were expected to know all the Mozart and Beethoven string quartets and a good proportion of Haydn’s, as well as the cornerstones of the symphonic repertoire.

Jack’s mastery of harmony and contrapuntal techniques was second to none, and he passed on his knowledge many times in individual sessions in which criticism was detailed not to say unsparing. Many pupils remarked that the training often surpassed the tuition they received at university.

Midweek evenings often included a group visit to his home, with supper cooked by his wife, Betty, after which the group would listen to and analyse works by Brahms, Britten, Bach, Schubert and Elgar. School holidays were highlighted by study days based on a particular composer that could last 12 hours. Jack’s insights into Bruckner, Sibelius and Carl Nielsen were particularly memorable.

Jack was born in 1921 in Kirkstall to Thomas, a sheet-metal worker, and Ellen (née Leach), whose first husband had died during the First World War. Jack joined the RAF during the Second World War and was stationed at Redcar, where one evening he was invited back to supper by the churchwarden and met Betty Tate, his 16-year-old daughter. A lengthy wartime correspondence ensued and they married in 1949. They had three sons: John, a professional conductor and arranger; Edward, a music master at the Purcell School; and Oliver, a barrister and conductor of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Betty died in 1997, but in retirement Jack continued to teach privately and play the organ in church. A man of energy and passion, in his seventies he learnt German and Italian and in his eighties visited the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and the Maggio Musicale opera festival in Florence.
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Re: Jack Longstaff (1921-2020)
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2020, 03:34:19 pm »
Chesterton, Stoke-on-Trent (place of my birth  :-[)
Mine too.

Wowbagger

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Re: Jack Longstaff (1921-2020)
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2020, 08:54:41 pm »
Thanks for the post, Jaded.
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Jaded

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Re: Jack Longstaff (1921-2020)
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2020, 11:58:08 pm »
Thanks for the post, Jaded.

No problem.

I used to read the greatest newspaper in the world, in fact I grew up on it, and I struggle to break the habit.

I'm not sure if there is, or ever will be, a greatest newspaper in the future. There always was influence, but it was stuck on a sheet of paper, once a day, with only sales figures and a tiny bit of research to help measure impact.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.