Tuesday, November 24, 2009

'A bon viveur of the best kind'

I do not like to write about the newly departed two days in a row. We do not want to become the Obituary Web Log. (Although that would have a neat acronym, OWL.)

But I learned of the passing of the great Haydn and Mozart scholar H.C. Robbins Landon and it hit me like a ton of bricks. That is H.C. Robbins Landon up above. I learned of his death from the critic Norman Lebrecht's Web log. Norman Lebrecht is now my Facebook friend, to my delight and astonishment! But that is a whole other story.

I paid tribute to H.C. Robbins Landon a while back on the other Web log. Wow, that was over a year ago. I guess I was ahead of the curve.

"He was a bon viveur of the best kind." That is what my new friend Norman Lebrecht wrote to me on Twitter.

That is a wonderful thing to say about someone!

I grew up reading H. C. Robbins Landon's books but I only learned recently what an entertaining character he was. As I wrote on the other Web log, I loved reading interviews with him. He attacked his scholarly pursuits with such gritty humor and passion.

When he was telling of releasing the first recording of Haydn's "The Creation," he recalls seeing: "hard-bitten New York s.o.b.'s with tears streaming down their faces."

He also talked about how he found Haydn manuscripts. He said you would see bats flying out of these old castles in Dracula country and those would be the places that had Haydn manuscripts in the attic.

I think about that whenever I think about bats. Which is often because my husband is refurbishing this old house across from Buffalo's City Hall, a house we call Big Blue...

... and very often we see bats orbiting it. So when you think about it, I think about H.C. Robbins Landon quite a bit.

Norman Lebrecht always has the dirt, which I love, and I had not realized what he writes on his Web log, that H.C. Robbins Landon supposedly used to frolic naked in his pool with research assistants and guests. How sensational! When I was in California with Leonard Pennario we were in the hot tub together but we were not naked.

Anyway, I never met H.C. Robbins Landon but I am going to miss him.

You have to believe that right now Haydn is shaking his hand.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder who Max Reger frolicked naked with? (Terrible grammar!!)