He was a very expressive player and this compared with his near contemporary, John Williams (born Melbourne, Australia 1941) who was, technically the better player (Segovia had said of Williams that ”God has laid his finger on his brow.”)
However, Bream had a flair and emotional connection to his music that I don’t think Williams displays. As a 17 year-old student of the guitar I met John Williams when he gave a concert at the Commonwealth Institute in London. He approached me in the queue and asked me what time the concert started. I told him and we chatted for a while. As he walked away, my friend told me who he was. I had no idea!
Bream retired from performing in 2002. Unlike many of his professional colleagues, he had a wide range of interests outside of music. He was passionate about cricket and was a member of the MCC. He was also a formidable table tennis player. Apart from his interests in gardening and his famously well-stocked wine cellar, the visual arts were a constant stimulation – he had a fine collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century English and Scottish paintings – and he was a well-informed collector of English period furniture. The companionship of his dogs became increasingly important to him, particularly after a heart attack on Christmas Eve 1998, when his doctors recommended a routine of regular exercise. Thereafter he became a familiar sight on the North Dorset Downs, striding along with his beautiful flat-coated retrievers at heel.
Listen to Julian Bream playing Cadiz (from the Iberia Suite by Albeniz) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L0sdZ3TbJ8.
Go on, treat yourself!