(b Hull, 15 Aug 1939). English traditional singer and folksinger. From a Yorkshire family, she began in the 1960s by singing with her sister Lal, brother Mike and cousin John Harrison as the Watersons, releasing the acclaimed album Frost and Fire (Topic, 1965). They dressed like a typical contemporary rock band, but sang unaccompanied traditional English songs with an intensity that they described as ‘earthy’, acquiring a cult following before breaking up in 1968. After four years as a DJ in Montserrat, Norma returned to Yorkshire, working on a series of family musical projects. She continued to make occasional appearances and recordings with a new line-up of the Watersons, including the guitarist Martin Carthy whom she later married. She then worked with her daughter Eliza Carthy, sister Lal and her daughter Maria as the Waterdaughters. When Lal Waterson stopped touring, Norma began working with Martin and Eliza in a new family group, Waterson: Carthy.
In 1996 she released her first solo album, Norma Waterson, recorded in the USA with a group of musicians that included the guitarist Richard Thompson and Martin and Eliza Carthy. It included only one traditional song alongside versions of songs by Billy Bragg, Richard Thompson and Elvis Costello. Despite its remarkable success, she continued working with her family in Waterson: Carthy, releasing Common Tongue (1997).
Her brother Mike [Michael] Waterson (b Hull, 17 Jan 1941) released a critically acclaimed eponymous album (1977), while her sister Lal Waterson (b 14 Feb 1943; d 4 Sept 1998) recorded Bright Phoebus (1972), an album of songs written by herself and her brother. Later recordings by Lal included those with the Waterdaughters and other combinations of family members; they also included the albums Once in a Blue Moon (Topic, 1996) and the final, reflective A Bed of Roses (1998), both with her son, the guitarist Oliver Knight.
ROBIN DENSELOW, CAROLE PEGG
Watkin, David (Evan)
(b Crowthorne, Berks., 8 May 1965). English cellist. He studied privately with Sharon McKinley and then at the Wells Cathedral School with Margaret Moncrieff and Amaryllis Fleming; while at St Catherine's College, Cambridge (where he won both a choral scholarship and an instrumental award), he studied with William Pleeth. In 1989 he made his début in St John's, Smith Square, with his duo partner, Howard Moody; his US début came ten years later at the Lincoln Center, New York, when he played the Schumann Concerto with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and L'Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. As a soloist Watkin has also appeared and recorded with the Academy of Ancient Music, Collegium Musicum '90, the English Concert and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with which he recorded Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante. Watkin's passionate belief in the juxtaposition of scholarship and musicianship has led to his revival of the practice of realizing figured bass on the cello; he has recorded Corelli's op.5 violin sonatas in this manner with the Trio Veracini, and published his findings (Early Music, xxiv (1996), 645–63). It is also reflected in a special interest in performing 19th-century music, firstly with a highly acclaimed recording of Beethoven cello sonatas and, since 1999, with the Eroica Quartet, which is committed to ‘performing the music of the Romantic period and rediscovering the style of its performance’. Its first CD, of Mendelssohn, was acclaimed for its boldness and vitality. Watkin's tastes remain catholic, as is witnessed by his recording of Francis Pott's Cello Sonata.
Watson, Anthony (Arthur)
(b Winton, 29 Sept 1933; d Dunedin, 6 March 1973). New Zealand composer. He studied music from an early age with his father, an amateur violinist. Graduating from the University of Otago (diploma in music 1957), he then worked as a string player in Wellington. From 1959 to 1969 he earned a living primarily from playing the viola in the National Orchestra of the NZBS (now the New Zealand SO). He was the inaugural Mozart Fellow, from 1970 to 1971, at the University of Otago, a position which allowed him to work full-time at composition for the only period of his life. Reduced to the precariousness of freelance work and private string teaching when the fellowship expired, and increasingly debilitated by alcoholism, he took his own life at the age of 39.
As a non-conformist personality, and working outside the academic music establishment of the time, Watson developed his own, isolated modernist voice, finding inspiration in the music of Bartók and the Second Viennese School. All of his finest music is for strings, reflecting his own performance expertise. The three string quartets form a nucleus of highly charged, yet meticulously ordered music. The first (1959) is a homage to Beethoven's Grosse Fuge, while the second (1962) and third (1971) use serial techniques and tightly worked canons. The Prelude and Allegro for Strings (1960), Watson's most popular work, is terse and densely structured, but close to hysteria in its emotional tone; the virtuoso Sonata for solo viola (1969) is similarly anguished. Works employing texts, such as In memoriam 29th October, reveal his left-wing political views.
Orch: Prelude and Allegro, str, 1960
Vocal: Centennial Cant: for the Balclutha Centenary (O.H. Laytham), 1970; In memoriam 29th October (after N. Guillen, R. Estrada, J.L. Borges), nar, orch, 1971