Adrian died on July 24. I didn't know him that well and hadn't seen him for a long time. But, though he would never have known this, he had a quite profound influence on me at a critical moment early in my career on the-then Glasgow Herald.
I hadn't been in the post long. I was so green you would not believe. I had been fluent and experienced in my former job as a teacher. Transferring from working with 12-year-olds into full-time journalism was a deep plunge into unknown waters.
Though I knew a fair amount about music, I realised quickly that I didn't know anyone in the music business, and I knew little about the operation of Scotland's music companies. Nor did I really know anything about the newspaper business. I had written some freelance reviews for the Daily Telegraph while teaching, but going into the newspaper business full time in my late 30s meant starting from scratch. I was not exactly brimming with confidence.
On top of that, I was beginning to wonder if I had made a good decision in giving up teaching. I learned quickly to expect brickbats, but I remember one that hit really hard. A well-spoken lady phoned me in our office in Albion Street. She fulminated about a review in which I had written uncomplimentary remarks about a famous musician. She lashed me with invective and ended with a shocker of a punch line: "And I hope the next time I see your name in the Glasgow Herald, Mr Tumelty, it is attached to your obituary."
I also realised that I would be confronted with some difficult characters, such as the-then manager of the young Scottish Chamber Orchestra, who phoned me and demanded to know, with the tone of a sergeant major, what I intended to do in the newspaper to mark the 10th birthday of the SCO. ("Damn all, mate", I muttered, "if you're going to speak like this.")
So there I was, with a couple of unsuccessful interviews under my belt, scrappling about, finding my feet as a concert reviewer, with the dubious amount of self-confidence I possessed sapping away.
Then, one day, without announcement, a burly figure loomed at my desk and introduced himself. It was Adrian Shepherd.
I recognised him from his SNO role, of course. How he had got into the building I know not: security was lighter in those days, I guess. He welcomed me to the job, sat down and smacked a pile of Cantilena LPs onto my desk. We got talking and he explained the origins, ethos, philosophy and performing style of the group. At some point he made a remark to the effect: "You're asking all the right questions."
He couldn't possibly have known it, but he had just said the right thing at the right time in the right place to the right person. I had a slightly different view of the world, and my lot, after that experience. It was momentary. But it mattered.
Later, I came to recognise the man in his music-making and direction, from the cello, of Cantilena.
It was rich, virile, meaty and full-on. It was light years from the period instrument style, towards which many of that brigade were still crawling scratchily.
I had one revelatory night when Adrian invited me to his home to hear a rehearsal of Bach's Fifth Brandenburg Concerto. The big-boned sound of the group, in a living room and totally in your face, driven from the bass line by the man with the cello, was overwhelming, and I've never forgotten that night.
But nor have I forgotten when that man Adrian Shepherd came into the Glasgow Herald and, unknowingly, in a single conversation, clarified in my mind exactly what I was doing and why I wanted to do it.