19. July 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Losses

I’m sorry to have to report that the composer, Ketzel, has died. As you can see by the dates above, she was only 19.

Oh yes, she was also a cat.

Ketzel (“cat” in Yiddish) was a one-hit wonder among composers — she never wrote another piece. And her career was launched only because she launched herself onto the keyboard of Professor Cotel’s Baldwin grand one morning in 1996.

He was playing a prelude and fugue from “The Well-Tempered Clavier” by Bach, as he did every morning — he worked his way through a different prelude and fugue each day, as a kind of warmup exercise.

On the morning in question, Ketzel leapt onto the piano, landing in the treble. She worked her way down to the bass. Professor Cotel was startled, but grabbed a pencil and started transcribing. He was impressed by the “structural elegance” of what he heard, Ms. Cheskis-Cotel said. “He said, ‘This piece has a beginning, a middle and an end. How can this be? It’s written by a cat.’”


I LOVE this paragraph:

We gave the piece serious consideration because it was quite well written,” Guy Livingstone, one of the judges, said in 1997. “It reminded us of Anton Webern. If Webern had a cat, this is what Webern’s cat would have written.”

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