Robert Bigio flute pages
Articles on the flute
Joachim Andersen: Fantaisie caractéristique Op. 16.
Edith Penville, flute; Roland Revell, piano.
Recorded 19 December 1930.
Edith Penville was an active and successful soloist and recording artist in the first half of the twentieth
century. A number of works for the flute were dedicated to her.
Edith Penville has long fascinated me, but I have been unable to discover much about her life. I
consulted many players of an earlier generation, including Gareth Morris, Richard Adeney and Patricia
Lynden, all of whom knew of her but could offer no information. Some years ago I planned to ask
Geoffrey Brooke about her. Geoffrey, a truly lovely man, was an enthusiastic flute player then in his
nineties. Sadly, before I got around to asking him, he passed away. Some months later his widow asked
me to find homes for his instruments, one of which was a Rudall Carte flute he had bought from Edith
Penville, and which was probably the flute she used in the recording on this website. Geoffrey would
have known all about Edith Penville, and it is a matter of great regret to me that I did not ask him about
her. I would be delighted to have any information about this splendid musician. Robert Bigio.
Mike MacMahon supplied this information (15 December 2012):
Edith was born Edith Pidgeon in October 1881 in Bilston, Staffordshire; she lived to almost 100, dying in
March 1981 in Pinner, a suburb of London. She married a businessman, John Bawden Crabb in London
in 1917. (Her surname alternates between 'Penville', 'Pidgeon' and 'Crabb' in official documents,
although for professional purposes she always used 'Penville'.) She is mentioned in print in 1907 in
reviews of concerts at the Royal Academy of Music. There are then numerous references to her in the
radio listings in The Times up to January 1939. Attempts are being made to track down members of her
family to discover more about her professional life and the reasons for her disappearance from the
Christopher Steward’s early flute recordings
Edith Penville from Rudall
Carte’s Photographs of Well-
Known Flute Players (second
Edith Penville playing the
piccolo. Dayton C. Miller
Collection, Library of