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Broadwood grand piano donated to Bowdon Festival
2:00pm Wednesday 5th September 2012 in News
A BROADWOOD grand piano donated to Bowdon Festival, once had an original score by Handel stored under it - and a teddy led to its discovery.
Vivienne Plummer, a festival patron, presented the piano in memory of her husband, TV producer and director, Peter Plummer.
Andrew Wilde will play it at a concert at Bowdon church on September 8.
Peter used it often but Vivienne preferred her teddy bear collection, one of which was missing.
In the early 1970s, Peter’s mother, Eva, sent her a bundle of “rubbish” which she put beneath the piano.
Unknown to her, it contained a score by Handel commissioned by a wealthy Roman family in 1707 and unheard of since.
Musicologist William Cummings bought it from a clergyman in 1912 and, impulsively, gave it to Eva Brown,a beautiful singer.
“She was fantastic even in her 70s. She had perfect pitch even then,” said Vivienne “When Peter was a child she kept them in his toy box. Fortunately, she wrapped everything in brown paper which preserved them.”
Around 1980, Peter asked where the parcels were but they had disappeared from the piano.
“I must have put them in the attic because it was there I found my long lost teddy, Jumbly, sitting on top of them. I was more thrilled to find Jumbly than the scores!”
After much research, the British Library confirmed their authenticity.
Before auctioning them in 1985, they arranged a charity performance of the work in Manchester Cathedral.
“The Duke of Kent came. His first question was ‘Is Jumbly here?’ I introduced him,” said Vivienne.