Richard Adeney (1920–2010) was one of the finest British flute
players of the twentieth century. In a long and distinguished
orchestral career he was first flute in the London Philharmonic
Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the English
Chamber Orchestra, and appeared as a freelance player with
many others. As a chamber musician he was a founder
member of the Melos Ensemble, and he was a popular soloist
and recording artist. Adeney studied at the Royal College of
Music with Robert Murchie.
Richard Adeney described his career in an entertaining and
occasionally scandalous autobiography, Flute. (Brimstone
Press, 2009. ISBN 978-1-906385-14-9)
William Bennett wrote in the March 2011 edition of Flute (the
journal of the British Flute Society), ‘Richard Adeney was one
of my greatest flute heroes when I was a student. He had a
beautifully focused sound, and could produce more different
tone colours than anyone else I had heard. I used to have an
acetate LP taken from a live broadcast of Richard playing some
lollipops with the pianist Josephine Lee, including The Flight of
the Bumble Bee, some of the Suite by Armstrong Gibbs, Airs de
Ballet from Ascanio by Saint-Saëns, and the most fabulous
performance ever of Briccialdi’s Carnival of Venice. This record
got played to death by myself, Jimmy Galway and Ewen
McDougall, and sadly now is barely audible through the
scratch of the surface noise.’
An original tape of this performance of the Briccialdi has now
been found and has been restored. We are grateful to Richard
Adeney’s executor, the distinguished photographer Robert
Taylor, for making this available.
Christopher Steward’s early flute recordings
Briccialdi: Variations on Carnival of Venice.
Richard Adeney, flute; Josephine Lee, piano.
BBC broadcast 11 February 1957.
Robert Bigio flute pages
Articles on the flute
Richard Adeney (centre) in rehearsal with
(left to right) Nannie Jamieson, Yehudi
Menuhin, Eugene Cruft, Quintin Ballardie
and George Malcolm.