Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Last bow

I just went next door to the Radu Lupu concert -- I love saying that -- and while I was there my cousin Gretchen told me that cellist David Soyer had died. That makes me sad.

Well, he lived a long life, to 87 years. And it was a wonderful life.

That is a great picture above of Soyer that I ripped off from Instant Encore's absorbing Soyer page. Like a lot of music listeners I consider the Guarneri Quartet practically family. I grew up with their records. Their RCA Red Seal box set of the six Mozart "Haydn" quartets were part of my adolescence. I know, nerd! But that is the truth.

Then I read Arnold Steinhardt's book "Indivisible By Four" years before I got my job writing about music for The Buffalo News. That is a hilarious and very human book about life in a string quartet. Later, when I found myself interviewing Steinhardt, I kept remembering the book, and how I never thought I would be talking to him about it. It was funny, Steinhardt on the phone was not at all what I had imagined. You get your highly personalized images of these people.

When I shared the stage with the Guarneri Quartet last spring, Soyer was no longer with them. His successor, Peter Wiley, was playing.

But there was an occasion several years ago when Soyer was here in Buffalo, I think with the Shanghai Quartet. It was so sweet to see the younger musicians gathered around him, looking up to him as if he were God. And when they left the stage, the kids were all gathered around him still, patting him on the back, basking in his nearness. It was so touching.

They played the great Schubert C major Quintet. Soyer was in the center. I remember that.

I wish I could go back in time to that evening, you know?

No comments:

Post a Comment