Founder’s page

Paul Thwaites


When Paul Thwaites was 13 (in 1967) he found a cupboard at school full of 78rpm records and asked if he could take them home, as nobody had used them for a very long time.


Amongst all the Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Malcolm Sargent, Boult and Toscanini was a record of Rudolf Dolmetsch playing Bull’s King’s Hunt on the virginals, another with Rudolf’s dad, Arnold, playing Bach on the clavichord and more featuring the whole family scraping away in viol consorts. It all sounded rather strange, but also exciting; odd really.


Later, as a student in Cambridge, Paul studied the harpsichord with Mrs Mary Potts. She had been a pupil of Arnold Dolmetsch and knew all the people playing on those records. The fact that Mary was unacknowledged as an important figure in the field of early music, from the 1930s on, led him to research her life and, ultimately, to start writing this blog in 2011 about early music pioneers, forgotten and otherwise.


Apart from writing about Mary, the Dolmetsches and other English pioneers such as Arnold Goldsbrough, Desmond Dupré and Charles Thornton Lofthouse, Paul had a keen interest in the Dutch early music scene (as he lived in Amsterdam) and published several posts about the early career of Gustav Leonhardt, Frans Brüggen, Kees Otten and Janny van Wering. (Paul wrote all the posts which are unattributed.)


It was a great comfort to him to know that the complete blog would be hosted by Dolmetsch Foundation, where the early music story had begun.


Blighted by ill health in his later years, Paul Thwaites died on 3 July 2020.