The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (154): Julian Bream’s Jewish side

The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (154): Julian Bream’s Jewish side


norman lebrecht

August 16, 2020

The Times obituary recorded that the guitarist’s mother, Violet, was ‘of Portuguese-Jewish descent’. She left the family when Julian was 13.

Is this recording a nod to his missing mother?



  • Occamsrazor says:

    Norman, all humans share something like 99.5% common genes with monkeys and 75% common genes with yeast. Your nonstop mentioning the word Jewish suggests that you should be carrying a Galil somewhere in a desert instead of discussing classical music which has nothing to do with Judaism in spite of so many Jews performing it, myself included. What can we do? Our meshugana parents thought it would be a good job for those lack brains to be doctors and lawyers. Many stupid people expect their kids to be as stupid as they are but there are always exceptions to the rule.

  • V. Lind says:

    I doubt it. Another obit says she was of Scottish descent, so the Portuguese-Jewish connection is probably quite far back. I would imagine he was raised as conventionally English.

    And I am not sure how “missing” his mother was. There was a divorce, and he stayed with his father (he was 14), with custody of the youngest child going to the mother, the older two to the father. Both parents remarried. It may have simply been a financial matter, or one of education — no wish to interrupt the location of the older children’s schooling.

    Much more likely this piece is simply one of a collection. Bream assiduously researched Renaissance and Elizabethan music seeking repertoire he could present with either of his principal instruments.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    I hope that RCA/Sony would press some more copies of the 6-disk set Music of Spain. Maybe a set of all his recordings for that label as a tribute…

  • E says:

    To: Occamsrazor. This has been interesting to follow. It was clear to me that one distant relative on the Austo-Hungarian side was Jewish, though I only learned that at age 40. It never occurred to me that the Turkish-Greek side too could undoubtedly include Jewish relatives, living within a byzantine community. (At least that accounts for the musical genes!)
    It’s a relief. I agree one hundred percent that we are much more mingled, than distinct, in origin.
    I’d add, “especially if we come from the mediterranean basin,” but reading about the many moments of exodus just underlines for me the intermingling.

    • Occamsrazor says:

      I`m 1/4 Pontic Greek which dna test determined to be mostly Turkish blood to the horror of some of the Greeks on that side of my family.Also, recent dna research determined that Ashkenazi are Greeks from the Turkish region of Askenaz who adopted Judaism about 1300yrs ago. How about this: only about 16% of today`s Istanbul population is Turkish, most are Greek and Armenian.

    • Occamsrazor says:

      I’m acutely racially aware and usually one of the first things I ask people about is what their ethnicity(s) are. I have no preferences or hatreds, only genuine interest in cultures except visceral,rabid hatred for Western Ukrainians and only those of them who espouse the Bandera ideology, some of the closest friends of my family are western Ukrainians who abhor that ideology probably even more than I do. It was the Bandera Ukrainians who buried my Jewish great grandparents alive during the war, so you can see why.

  • From a proud Jewish woman, the more the merrier. No more the knee bending closet Jew. I just couldn’t resist.