Willie Lang

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MRSH

Supporting Member
The death has been reported of the legend that is Willie Lang (courtesy 4barsrest)

I never met the guy but my wife (Aardvark) was taught by him at the London College of Music for the three years of her degree. By all her accounts he was a gentleman and a stunning player even in his later years. The stories he came out with were worth listening to at every lesson.

He was a very modest man that truly can say that he has "been there, done that".

RIP.
 
Sad news indeed.
I had the privilege of meeting him on a few banding occasions during my time at Black Dyke and he certainly was a gentleman.
I remember especially the British Bandsman centenary concert at the Free Trade Hall,Manchester in 1987 when Dyke accompanied Willie,Maurice Murphy,Jim Shepherd and Phillip McCann in a piece composed by Elgar Howarth.
Let's not forget that in addition to his banding achievements he graced the ranks of the LSO for numerous years.
In an era of over hyped,self publicity seeking "superstars" it is timely to remember a true legend.
 

KMJ Recordings

Supporting Member
Sandy Smith said:
I remember especially the British Bandsman centenary concert at the Free Trade Hall,Manchester in 1987 when Dyke accompanied Willie,Maurice Murphy,Jim Shepherd and Phillip McCann in a piece composed by Elgar Howarth.
Indeed - I also played on that concert, and it was a great honour to witness them all performing "Legends" together.
 

Brian Bowen

Active Member
I was present some years ago at a recording session in London's Kingsway Hall when Willie Lang was deputizing with the LPO. During session breaks he was surrounded by the other brass players to hear his story-telling. I guess he was a real character in the orchestral world, too.
 

Anno Draconis

Well-Known Member
KMJ Recordings said:
Indeed - I also played on that concert, and it was a great honour to witness them all performing "Legends" together.
I was in the audience, and despite being (AFAIK) the oldest player on stage, Lang more than held his own with Shepherd, McCann and Murphy, as well as arguably the finest ever Dyke line-up at the height of their powers. A fine musician, superb cornet player and trumpeter, and by all accounts a really nice bloke too.
 

Bass Trumpet

Active Member
A true character of the banding and orchestral world. Some of the Lang anecdotes are still circulating the profession many years after his retirement. And there are still some music stands at Henry Wood Hall (where the LSO used to rehearse before the Barbican was built) with black marks where he left his fag burning!

A great character and a brilliant player. He will be sadly missed.
 
I remember hearing The Planets at The Barbican (1984ish), the brass section was awesome, Maurice Murphy was on Principal Trumpet, and Willie Lang on 4th. Brass at its best.
 
U

Unregistered

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David Read

1st Position said:
I remember hearing The Planets at The Barbican (1984ish), the brass section was awesome, Maurice Murphy was on Principal Trumpet, and Willie Lang on 4th. Brass at its best.
I was saddened to hear of the passing of Willie Lang, he was a great artist.During the immediate post war period he was an inspiration to all young cornet players of my generation.I was extremely fortunate to have sat next to him in one or two massed band concerts during my early days with Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band and I have never forgotten the wonderful sound that he produced,I know that I was at an impressionable age but I have never heard better.Later in life and while he was the Principal Trumpet of the LSO I had lessons from him and it was he that encouraged me to enter the Solo Championships of Gt. Britain. I shall ever be grateful to him for his encouragement and kindness at that time.
 

ronnie_the_lizard

Active Member
In '86 I was a nervous teenager attending my first NYBBW course.
I was late, after playing for Llanrug youth at the Eisteddfod, and arrived at Aberytswyth station to face a long queue for the taxi rank.
A small, wizened figure approached, and rightly assuming I was heading for NYBBW, offered me a place in his minicab. I gratefully accepted and with Rodney Newton in the front, the old guy and I squeezed into the back seat squashed under my Eb bass.

As the driver moved off, squeezing us together uncomfortably under my Tuba, the old man turned to me and said.........
...... "By the way, my name's Wille.........Willie Lang......."

I will never forget that moment, and would like to add my support to the others that know that Willie wasn't just a musical legend, he was a gentleman and a self effacing promotor of brass musicianship.

I wish more professionals of his like were around. #

Break a leg Willie.

Ron
 
ronnie_the_lizard said:
As the driver moved off, squeezing us together uncomfortably under my Tuba, the old man turned to me and said.........
...... "By the way, my name's Wille.........Willie Lang......."

I will never forget that moment, and would like to add my support to the others that know that Willie wasn't just a musical legend, he was a gentleman and a self effacing promotor of brass musicianship.

I wish more professionals of his like were around. #

Break a leg Willie.

Ron
I was extremely fortunate to be tutoring the cornets with Willie on that course and have a photo of us playing duets in the staffroom. I would confirm everything you said about him, he was a true gentleman.
Another memory I have was in my first year at the RAM I played with the LSO in a programme of Tchaikovsky ballet music in the Festival Hall. Willie was on first trumpet, George Reynolds was on second another legend played first cornet Harold Jackson and I was extremely privileged to play second cornet.
Musicians like Willie Lang are extremely rare, God Bless you Willie and thanks for the memories, which I treasure dearly.

David James
 

Anglo Music Press

Well-Known Member
The last time I saw Willie play live was at a Prom concert with (I think) the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He had been called on to play an extra trumpet for Mahler 1.

Why I remember it is that he had to play both in the orchestra and sort-of-offstage (for the foresty bits) and it was a bit unnerving watching the oldest member of the section running around the stage. He didn't seem to mind, though, and played to his usual standard, of course.
 
S

Stuart Grist

Guest
Willie Taught me at Knellar Hall

I know this is a long time after his sad death but Willie taught me for about 6 months while at Knellar Hall as a replacement for Ian Mackintosh, if I remember correctly, he was a complete gentleman and full of complements even when those studies in the Arban got the better of me.

He got me ready for the Frank Wright solo contest.

Greatly missed real gentleman.

Stuart Grist
 
C

ChrisLang

Guest
Truly Heartbreaking.

Hello, My name is Chris Lang.
My father, Michael Lang was the adopted son of my grandad and his dad, Willie Lang.
Although I am not blood-related, he was still family and although I was young when he died, I still broke down.
He was the first member of my family that I knew to die.
I am 13 years old at the moment, He died when he was 87. I'm glad he had a good run!
Due to problems revolving around his early addiction of smoking, in his older years, he was unable to speak, and for all the time that I knew him, was unable to speak. But he didn't need to. I knew he loved me, and he knew I loved him. He and I were connected in the most magical way possible.
R.I.P sir, I respect your brilliance. I look up to you, and you look down on me from above.
 

James Yelland

Active Member
Dear Chris

Your dignified contribution (above) belies your young age and I for one am grateful to you for it. The quality of your sentiments outshines the vast majority of other messages posted on this forum. Thank you for your contribution.

With sincere best wishes

Jim
 

Lofty Snr

Member
Hello, My name is Chris Lang.
My father, Michael Lang was the adopted son of my grandad and his dad, Willie Lang.
Although I am not blood-related, he was still family and although I was young when he died, I still broke down.
He was the first member of my family that I knew to die.
I am 13 years old at the moment, He died when he was 87. I'm glad he had a good run!
Due to problems revolving around his early addiction of smoking, in his older years, he was unable to speak, and for all the time that I knew him, was unable to speak. But he didn't need to. I knew he loved me, and he knew I loved him. He and I were connected in the most magical way possible.
R.I.P sir, I respect your brilliance. I look up to you, and you look down on me from above.
Super tribute to a real Gentleman-Musician. On the few occasions I heard him with the LSO, He was still for me Willie Lang from Black Dyke Mills Band.
 
Hi chris.

A great write up.
I did not know your father but i knew your grandad willie.
He was one of my greatest teachers.
Im sure he would be proud of what you have written
 
M

Mr Poupard

Guest
I know its years after his passing but I'm only seeing this notification now and thought I'd add a few words to those here. Willie Lang came from that generation of serious brass band cornetists like Harold Jackson, George Eskdale and Maurice Murphy who drifted into the orchestral profession (seemingly without any particular ambition) and graced it. Little known fact: Willie Lang was also a fully time served stone mason. He joined Black Dyke in the 1930s as No2 to the great Harold Jackson and became principal when Jackson left. During WW2 he served as a tank driver in North Africa so would've experienced the horror and stress of combat at first hand. After the war he re joined Black Dyke before being enticed to leave and join the Halle Orchestra as principal trumpet under Barbirolli (where one of his colleagues in the section was Arthur Butterworth the composer ). By his own admission he wasn't fluent in transposition when he joined the Halle and learnt it on the job! He left the Halle to join Manchester's other orchestra, the BBC one before joining the London Symphony Orchestra where he shared the principal trumpet duties for most of his tenure there with Howard Snell, and latterly Maurice Murphy. In an edition of the magazine Sounding Brass from the early 1970s Willie mentions playing lead trumpet on a heavy LSO recording session conducted by composer John Williams (not Star Wars) before having to play principal in a performance of Bach's B Minor Mass that very same evening. Willie commented that on his way to the Bach gig he was thinking ruefully " my God will I never learn …." Willie made a solo recording of trumpet concertos in 1975 conducted by Christopher Seaman and you can hear clearly his cornet origins in his sound.
 
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