The late Patric Standford may have written these short pieces deliberately to provoke our feedback. If so, his success is reflected in the rich range of readers' comments appearing at the foot of most of the pages.
Here are brief details of some of the people lost to the classical music world during July 2020, most recently deceased first. May they rest in peace. We will update this page as necessary, throughout the month.
Romanian conductor Camil Marinescu died on 27 July, aged fifty-five, following a three-week battle with COVID-19. Born in Bucharest on 29 September 1964, he played the bassoon from the age of nine, and he studied in Romania with Constantin Bugeanu, Mihai Bredicianu and Cristian Mandeal, and in France with Pierre Dervaux. From 1991 he was permanent conductor at Bucharest Opera and from 1993 he was conductor of the Iasi State Philharmonic, but he also guest conducted in Romania and abroad. From 2012 until 2019 he was principal conductor of the Bucharest's George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. His repertoire was very wide-ranging, including classical and Romantic music, many important twentieth century and contemporary works, film music and jazz.
Polish bass-baritone Bernard Ładysz died on 25 July, aged ninety-eight. He was born in what is now Vilnius, Lithuania on 24 July 1922. He won first prize in the 1947 National Vocal Competition in Warsaw and a series of other prizes and awards. He sang on recordings of Lucia di Lammermoor with Maria Callas and Penderecki's 1968-9 opera The Devils of Loudon with Tatiana Troyanos and Cvetka Ahlin.
American composer Paul Reale died on 22 July 2020, aged seventy-seven, following a long illness.
German musicologist Gabriele Buschmeier died on 14 July, aged sixty-five. Born in Schloß Neuhaus on 13 March 1955, she studied in Cologne, Mainz and Paris, and was an expert in French opera, and in particular Gluck. From 1994 she worked at the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. She became vice-president of Verwertungsgesellschaft Musikedition in 2012.
American pianist and teacher Eleanor Sokoloff passed away in Philadelphia on 12 July 2020, aged one-hundred-and-six, from natural causes. Born Eleanor Blum in Cleveland on 16 June 1914, she studied at Cleveland Institute of Music from the age of eight and went on to study piano with David Saperton and chamber music with Louis Bailly at the Curtis Institute. Later she studied duo-piano music with Vera Brodsky and Harold Triggs, then formed a duo with her husband, the pianist Vladimir Sokoloff. She taught piano at Curtis from 1936 until her death.
Italian soprano and actress Gabriella Tucci died in Rome on 11 July, aged ninety. Born in Rome on 4 August 1929, she trained with Leonardo Filoni at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia and made her debut at Teatro Nuovo in Spoleto in 1951 as Leonora, singing alongside Beniamino Gigli in Verdi's La forza del destino. She sang in Cherubini's Médée in Florence in 1953. In 1959 she appeared as Mimi in La bohème at La Scala, followed by first appearances at Covent Garden in London and New York Metropolitan Opera in 1960. She also appeared in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Tokyo and Vienna. She had a versatile voice and was able to sing a wide range of roles, ranging from seventeenth to twentieth century repertoire.
Italian author, music critic and composer Lorenzo Arruga passed away on 7 July, aged eighty-three, in Milan. Born in the same city on 12 June 1937, he studied with Mario Apollonio at the Catholic University of Milan then worked as a journalist for magazines, newspapers, radio and TV. He founded the magazine Musica Viva in 1977 and was its director until it closed in 1994. He was the author of many books and essays on music and music theatre. He was a composer and also made arrangements of other composers' works.
Italian composer Ennio Morricone died in Rome on 6 July, following a fall, aged ninety-one.
French harpsichord maker Claude Mercier-Ythier passed away on 3 July 2020, aged eighty-eight or eighty-nine. Born into a family of engineers and cabinetmakers in Cannes in 1931, he became interested in music when young and built his first harpsichord when he was eighteen. He studied at the Conservatoire de Toulon and then worked with Kurt Wittmayer in Bavaria. He also worked for the companies Neupert and Pleyel et Cie before opening his own workshop in Paris. Although he was the first French national since the eighteenth century to specialise only in making and restoring harpsichords, he widened his business to supply harpsichords to businesses, concert halls and theatres. His instruments appeared in films, and historic instruments restored by Mercier-Ythier were played in concerts and recordings by musicians such as Helmut Walcha and Zuzana Růžičková.
Russian composer Nikolai Kapustin died in Moscow on 2 July, aged eighty-two.
Polish-born British violinist Ida Haendel passed away in Miami, Florida on 30 June or 1 July, aged ninety-one.
Posted 10 July 2020 by Keith Bramich