Maurice Yvain

Maurice Yvain


• 1891 1965


Maurice Bevan was best known as the lead baritone with the a cappella ensemble, the Deller Consort, a group whose main focus was early vocal works, particularly those of Baroque-era British composers like Henry Purcell and John Dowland. Bevan appeared in numerous concerts and on countless recordings with the ensemble. Among the more memorable achievements of the Deller Consort was its acclaimed 1955 recording of the Thomas Tallis Lamentations of Jeremiah. Bevan's career was well-rounded and extended into many other areas: he appeared often on the BBC children's radio program Listen With Mother (1950-1982), where he usually sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"; he also sang with the choir at St. Paul's Cathedral as a vicar choral and made several recordings with them as well. In addition, he was a music editor and composer of several hymn tunes, among them "Corvedale." What is easily among Bevan's greatest assets, though, was his longevity: he sang with the Deller Consort for more than 40 years, and critics often remarked about the richness, resonance, and flexibility of his voice when he was well past 60.

Bevan was born in Shropshire, England, on March 10, 1921. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were Anglican clergymen, and his brother Roger was a choirmaster and founder of the renowned Bevan Family Choir.

Maurice Bevan studied at Magdalen College, Oxford. After serving in the military during World War II, he worked in Germany in broadcasting for a time. He returned to England in the late '40s to accept a post as vicar choral at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

A fellow vicar choral there was Alfred Deller, who established his choral group in 1950. Bevan joined as the ensemble's lead, and often only, baritone (or bass-baritone).

Bevan remained one of the key figures in the group following Deller's death in 1979. Deller was succeeded by his son Mark. Bevan often appeared on recordings with the Deller Consort around this time, but also with the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir. His 1980 recording of the Haydn Mass in D minor (Nelsonmesse), with the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir and London Bach Orchestra (reissued on Guild Records in 1995) was among his more notable later achievements. Bevan gradually retired from the Deller Consort in the late '80s. He then served as a mentor to young singers at the Deller Academy until its 1996 closing. Bevan died on June 20, 2006.