Obituary: Charles Cracknell

Charles Cracknell was for over 30 years Manchester's leading bassoonist. Joining the Halle Orchestra in 1946, he was one of the fresh crop of wind principals recruited after the end of war by Sir John Barbirolli to revitalise the orchestra.

Cracknell was born in Hastings in 1915, the second son of a clockmaker. Early exposure to the excellent local Municipal Orchestra inspired him to take up the bassoon. After war service spent mostly in Algeria, he completed his studies on the instrument in London at the Royal Academy of Music.

Having moved to Manchester, he was able over the years that followed to make a distinguished contribution to what were the vintage years for the Halle Orchestra under Barbirolli's direction. A highlight early on was the British premiere of Richard Strauss's Duet-Concertino, which Cracknell gave with the clarinettist Pat Ryan during the 1948-49 season.

In addition to his activities as orchestral player, he was a dedicated and much-loved teacher, working at both the Northern School and the Royal Manchester College of Music. He took retirement in 1977, having spent 31 years with the orchestra, and was appointed MBE in 1980.

Moving back south to Borough Green, Kent, he continued to teach for many years in Canterbury and the surrounding region. His daughter Gillian is a pianist and accompanist.

harles William Penton Cracknell, bassoonist: born Hastings, East Sussex 13 September 1915; married 1941 Patricia Murphy (three daughters); died 1 May 1997.

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