Francis Baines


Francis Baines was one of Britain's most accomplished classical music double-bass players. He was a collector of rare and early musical instruments, a gifted composer and an inspired teacher. He also played the pipe and tabor.

Baines never appeared to take himself, or anything else, for that matter, seriously. But behind the quick, dry throwaway humour there was a history of solid work and a real contribution to the musical life of Britain. He was a visiting professor at the Royal College of Music, for many years a lecturer and demonstrator in schools, and at one time ensemble coach to the Oxford University Music Club. He also founded the Chamber Music Club of the Mary Ward Settlement in London when he was a Lecturer there from 1948 to 1950.

At Aldeburgh in the Fifties and Sixties he was a frequent performer at the festival displaying his versatility by playing the double-bass, the French bagpipes (the musette), pipe and tabor, shawm and hurdy-gurdy. He took part in a performance of the Schubert "Trout" quintet with Benjamin Britten and the Amadeus Quartet and played no fewer than nine instruments in a recording of medieval music made many years ago.


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