Mr. C. Rawdon Briggs

(from the Manchester Guardian of 21 Dec 1948)

We regret to announce the death yesterday of Mr. C. Rawdon Briggs, the well-known violinist. He was 79.

Christopher Rawdon Briggs was the son on Archibald Briggs, of Wakefield, and was educated abroad. At an early age he revealed a talent for the violin, and after some years of preliminary training he bacame a pupil of Joachim. Much of his early life was spent in Italy. In 1893 he joined the teaching staff of the Royal Manchester College of Music on its formation under Sir Charles Hallé, with Willy Hess as principal teacher of the violin. Briggs came on the recomendation of Joachim, and continued a successful teaching career there until 1907. In 1893 he joined the Hallé Orchestra and subsequently became the leader of Manchester's famous body of players. He resigned from the orchestra in 1914 on account of increasing deafness. The Brodsky String Quartet was formed in 1895, with Rawdon Briggs as second violin, and he was always better known as a member of this quartet than as an orchestral player, and as an exponent of ensemble music generally than as a soloist. For a time he also had his own quartet, of which he was leader, the other members being John Bridge, Jack Holmes, and Walter Hatton. While still in his prime, his deafness caused his withdrawal from teachng and public playing - a personal tragedy and a loss to music.

He took a keen interest in theosophy and for a long period in his later life was widely known as a preacher and lecturer on the subject. He was attached to many liberal and humane causes. Rawdon Briggs was a cultured man and an able and sensitive musician. As a violinist he was not a briliant solo player and perhaps never had any desire for fame as a "celebrity" in the concert world. He was happy in combining with other performers and in advancing the cause of music by unobtrusive yet valuable work in his profession. His death reduces the now small number of players who were active in Manchester's great days of music when Hallé and afterwards Richter, lived and worked here.

Mr. Carl Fuchs writes:- In Christopher Rawdon Briggs I have lost a friend of sterling character. An excellent musician, he was for a number of years leader of the Hallé Orchestra and taught at the Royal Manchester College of Music. For 18 years he was an ideal "second violin" in the quartet led by that great quartet-player Brodsky. He had also formed a quartet of his own. For a long time he had lived not only in Germany, studying under Joachim, but also at his mother's house on Lake Garda. Owing to his linguistic talent he spoke German and Italian without accent and was proficient in French. My association with him in the Brodsky Quartet is one of my treasured memories not only for his refined nature but for his refreshing sense of humour.