Musical marvel: the greatest moments of conductor Edward Downes

The British conductor and Verdi expert died last Friday at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, but his vivid performances live on. Guy Dammann pays tribute

Edward Downes cut an unusual figure among the conductors of his generation. The sad news of his death, together with his wife, at the Swiss clinic Dignitas may have placed him in the media limelight, but Downes was essentially a very private man, devoted to music, politics (very much old Labour) and his family. He rarely gave interviews. And though he learned much from the high-powered, jet-setting maestros he assisted – among them Rafael Kubelik and Georg Solti – he never acquired their superstar aura. Instead he achieved his remarkable musical results through something far less glamorous, the painstaking craft of rehearsal...

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