Brian Culverhouse acclaimed classical record producer for his EMI Great Cathedral Organ series – obituary

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However, the opportunity to record a different work by Elgar eluded him. In May 1964 Culverhouse and John Whittle, EMI Marketing Director, asked cellist Jacqueline du Pré to record Elgar’s Cello Concerto under Adrian Boult. At the time, there was no interest outside of Britain and sales forecasts were so low that the idea was rejected. Fifteen months later, another producer made the now legendary recording of Du Pré de l’Elgar conducted by John Barbirolli.

Brian Beverley Culverhouse was born in Bristol on October 22, 1927, son of Stanley Culverhouse, organist and conductor, and his wife Gladys (née Hounsell). The family moved to the Gower Peninsula, where young Brian’s earliest memories were drawing organ sets and turning the pages at the console for his father. A talented pianist and clarinetist, he was educated at Ellesmere College in Shropshire, becoming a choirmaster.

During national service he served as a weapons instructor with the Grenadier Guards before joining the international artist department of the Gramophone Company, which is part of the IMS. There he was able to listen to the musicians recording at Abbey Road and observe their producers at work.

In September 1963 he was appointed Classical Producer at EMI, overseeing recordings with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Louis Frémaux, the Scottish National Orchestra and Alexander Gibson, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with Charles Groves. Tall, slender, and elegantly fitted, Culverhouse sat in the control room listening through speakers while following the music on an old sheet music and directing with his knees.

Culverhouse, who also oversaw numerous military and brass band recordings, left EMI in December 1971 and spent the next 42 years bringing his mixing expertise to labels such as Chandos, Decca and Deutsche Grammophon. In retirement, he lived in Cobham, Surrey, continuing to be interested in the recording industry.

He married Pamela Wynne in 1952.

Brian Culverhouse, born October 22, 1927, died August 22, 2021


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