I just read that John Shirley-Quirk died today. I don’t yet see any articles about this.

Here is an interview with him from 2013.

One of my favorite songs:

Silent Noon ( D Rossetti)
Ralph Vaughan Williams (House of Life Song Cycle No.2)
John Shirley Quirk (baritone)
Martin Isepp (piano)

… and then there’s this:

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Cantata BWV 82 “Ich habe genug”
0:00 1. Arie ‘Ich habe genug’
9:42 2. Rezitativ ‘Ich habe genug’
11:12 3. Arie ‘Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen’
22:25 4. Rezitativ ‘Mein Gott! wann kommt das schone: Nun!’
23:25 5. Arie ‘Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod’

John Shirley-Quirk, bass
Roger Lord, oboe
George Malcolm, organ continu
Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Conducted by Neville Marriner

I wasn’t familiar with the name, but Paul Salamunovich was a conductor and you can read about him here

Here’s another fascinating story:

“I approached his bed,” Dr. Lauridsen remembers, “and whispered in his ear, ‘Paul, your composer is here. Please wake up so you can conduct the O Magnum Mysterium and Lux Aeterna again.’ “

“When I said those words, and each time I mentioned the names of those pieces that I had written for him that he premiered and recorded with the LA Master Chorale, his right arm went up (still attached to tubes) and his hand began waving in the air, as if he were conducting these pieces. The very mention of those works caused him to physically respond even while in a deep coma.”

“It was a profound and magical moment that I, his wife Dottie and the attending nurse will never forget.”

I read it here.

Wow. I need to remember that even someone who appears not to hear a thing just might be understanding me. I wish I had thought of that when my father and mother were in their last days.

For 40 years, Ray Still was the principal oboe for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ray passed away overnight, just hours after turning 94.

I read it here.

Gerard Mortier, a visionary opera company leader whose bold theatricality and updatings of the canon helped define the art form’s modern history, died on Saturday at his home in Brussels. He was 70.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said Simon Bauwens, Mr. Mortier’s personal assistant at the Teatro Real in Madrid. Mr. Mortier was that company’s artistic director from 2009 until last year, when his title was changed to artistic adviser in a tussle with the Spanish government over his successor after he announced in September that he was being treated for cancer.

It was a characteristically feisty situation for a man who relished a battle during a four-decade career at the helm of some of the world’s most important opera companies, including the Salzburg Festival. and the Paris Opera.


I hadn’t heard until now that Sid Caesar died on the twelfth.

From the YouTube page:
[From "Kovacs Corner" on YouTube.com] – First telecast on “Caesar’s Hour” on October 10, 1955 over NBC, this kinescoped sketch is a take-off on the Italian opera “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Sid plays the role of “Gallipacci” (“Canio” in the real opera) an actor in a traveling Italian comedia dell’arte troupe during the late 19th century. His wife “Rosa” (“Nedda” in tha actual opera), who is played by singer and comedienne Nanette Fabray, falls in love with fellow actor “Emilio” (the opera’s “Silvio” character), performed by Carl Reiner, and they make plans to elope. Sid sings a rendition of songs in a jibberish Italian dialect which he picked up in his youth from waiting tables at his father’s 24-hour blue-collar diner in Yonkers, New York. Straying off of the real opera’s musical score just a bit, we hear hilariously bastardized renditions of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, Cole Porter’s “Begin The Beguine”, and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” among others. Howie Morris (Ernest T. Bass from “The Andy Griffith Show”) is “Vesuvio” (whose real opera character is “Tonio”) and he performs a parody song and dance rountine to the tune “If I Know What You Know”. In one of the most famous “saves” in the history of live television, Sid was supposed to paint a teardrop on his cheek when the mascara pencil broke at the beginning of his nonsense rendition of “Just One of Those Things”. Not breaking his stride, Sid proceeds to pick up one of Nanette’s lip brushes and paints an unscripted tic-tac-toe board on his face. The grand finale concluded with a variation of the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas” after Gallipacci takes care of the situation along the lines of a Mafia hit. Also, in the early days of live television, one time “specials” which pre-empted regular series programs were initially called “spectaculars”. Listen for a young Don Pardo introducing the sketch.

I just learned that Ursula Holliger, harpist and wife of Heinz Holliger, died on January 21.

Article here

Pete Seeger died yesterday. He lived a very long life, to be sure, but it’s still sad to read this news.

New York Times article

Just a few videos …

… and from 2012

If you want to see the making of Forever Young watch this:

Claudio Abbado, a conductor whose refined interpretations of a large symphonic and operatic repertory won him the directorships of several of the world’s most revered musical institutions — including La Scala, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic — died on Monday. He was 80.

(Just yesterday I had read that his Orchestra Mozart had suspended activity temporarily and the article mentioned Abbado’s health as a possible issue. I’m very sad to read this news today.)

New York Times


London Symphony Orchestra

29. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Losses

Blaine Ellis Edlefsen, 83, of Champaign died Sunday (Dec. 22, 2013) in Draper, Utah.

Blaine was born to Jesse and Ethel Edlefsen on Aug. 24, 1930, in Soda Springs, Idaho, and was raised in Driggs, Idaho. From an early age, he loved music and learned to sing from his mother. He played saxophone and clarinet in school bands.

While attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, he met Jean Josephine Harris and together they were married and sealed in the LDS Idaho Falls Temple on Aug. 29, 1952.

Blaine graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from BYU in 1952. In 1953, he completed his master of music degree in music literature and performance on the oboe from Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester in upstate New York.

From 1953-1961, Blaine was an instructor of music at BYU and performed with the Utah Symphony Orchestra in Salt Lake City, Utah. From 1959-61, he again attended the Eastman School of Music, earning his doctor of musical arts in performance and pedagogy of the oboe in 1966.

Blaine became an assistant professor at the University of Illinois School of Music at Urbana-Champaign in 1961, retiring as professor emeritus in 1994. During the summer of 1965, he held what is believed to have been the first oboe camp in the U.S. His video, “Making the American Scrape Oboe Reed,” made in 1969, was the first to illustrate the art of oboe reed making. He published methods of study for students learning the oboe at the beginning, intermediate and advanced-intermediate level. He was also a founding member of the International Double Reed Society.


29. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Losses

Yusef Lateef, innovative tenor saxophonist, oboist, flutist and composer, died on December 23 after a brief illness, his wife Ayesha confirmed. He was 93.


(Yes, I do intend to stay silent, but I figured losses should be posted in a timely manner.)