From the current issue of Choir & Organ
Shakespeare has Mark Antony saying after the death of Julius Caesar, ‘The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones.’ Two larger-than-life British personalities – Margaret Thatcher and Colin Davis – have died as we’ve been approaching press day, and one of them at least may turn this observation on its head.
Sir Colin not only brought great joy and inspiration to performers and music lovers the world over, he also gave generously of his time to nurture young musicians – as did both Eric Ericson and Marie-Claire Alain, whom we remember in this issue. A common theme in tributes to each of these three musical giants has been not only brilliance in their own field of specialism, but also their warmth and benevolence, their energy, sense of humour, and care and affection for the people they worked with, taught, mentored and befriended – they not only convinced people’s minds, they won their hearts. It is easy to ‘sanctify’ those who do so much good, and there is no doubt that each will have engaged in battles at times. But while none of them is in the queue for beatification, it is fair to say that their humanity at least as much as their legacy of recordings and live performances will ensure that the abiding memories of them will be of the good they did in lifting people’s souls and enriching their lives spiritually.
Elsewhere in this issue we meet other musicians in this band of givers: Loïc Mallié helps others to develop what can be the daunting art of improvisation; Manvinder Rattan) inspires colleagues in the workplace to find a voice and gain confidence from singing in a choir; and John Wellingham is still encouraging students to ‘de-glue’ themselves from constraints in their organ playing. Meanwhile,Hereford Cathedral Voluntary Choir shares the joy of English music with German audiences and City Chamber Choir continues to spark imaginations by introducing their audiences to rarely heard and new repertoire. Kenneth Tickell’s new organ in Newcastle upon Tyne will enhance the Cathedral’s worship for generations to come, as will the restored Gray organ in Soho, while Fugue State Films brings the wonder of these instruments into the living room. Lastly, David Hill and David Goode share their practical skills via the pen – and as he bids us farewell, at least temporarily, our warmest thanks go to David Goode for five years’ insightful tutorials on organ works ranging from Bach to Eben.