WHAT DID IT FOR ME, Chapter 2 – by Catherine Black

Catherine Black is a Lewes-based cellist who has had a wildly varied and eclectic career. She’s played with orchestras and toured with The Orb, a 90s ambient group, and her own group, String Theory Cello Ensemble, attracted the attention of an American management. She is in demand as a teacher and compiles books of music and technical studies for cellists.


CB: My father was the driving musical influence in my childhood. Though he never learned to play an instrument, he is a very well informed music lover and always had a vast collection of records and CDs. He has written about music and as a publisher was responsible for getting the music catalogue at CUP going. I listened to a lot from a young age because music was always on.

Catherine Black

Alfred Deller

I can still remember where I was standing in the sitting room when I first heard Alfred Deller singing the sad story of King Henry followed by The Cuckoo, unaccompanied. I was six years old and it was a Sunday.  I’d never heard a sound like it. I had heard lots of singers – Janet Baker, Lisa Della Casa, Schwarzkopf and other greats of the 60s, but this was another thing altogether. I love the album The Three Ravens still and Dad gave the LP to me when he got modern and got a CD player. I still have it.

Listen to Alfred Deller singing King Henry:
[audio:http://www.lewesclassical.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Alfred-Deller-King-Henry.mp3|titles=Alfred Deller – King Henry]

The counter-tenor is my favorite voice though there are many singers of all sorts that I listen to. It comes from another world and its music exists on another plane. As a teenager I fell in love with Paul Esswood singing on a recording of the Matthew Passion. I went to hear James Bowman in Cambridge and listened to tons of recordings. In the 80s I loved Jimmy Somerville of The Communards singing Don’t Leave Me This Way. Then along came Andreas Scholl, sounding for all the world just like Alfred. He even sang those unaccompanied folk songs.

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