Home > Uncategorized > In Memoriam: Charles Mackerras (1925-2010)

In Memoriam: Charles Mackerras (1925-2010)

Some other postings are in the works, but this unfortunate news has to be the first. Briefly, the great conductor Charles Mackerras has just passed away at the age of 84. Alex Ross posts links to some obituaries.

In memoriam, here is a video of progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer performing “Knife-Edge.” This song draws upon the main melody of the opening movement from Leoš Janáček’s Sinfonietta. Among other things, Mackerras was a major scholar and advocate of the Czech composer’s work, especially his operas. It is an unusual tribute, but perhaps a fitting one in this context. After all, Janáček himself drew upon popular (more specifically, folk) music as source material for his own compositions.

  1. July 15, 2010 at 22:53

    A few more examples of Mackerras’ work, including his interpretation of the majesterial orchestral introduction from Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass. Also for your listening pleasure, his interpretation of the final scene from Richard Strauss’ Salome, with Birgit Nilsson in the title role. As part of Chandos’ Opera in English series, Mackerras led the only English-language recording of the opera. I’m not a personal fan of the occasionally daft English translation, but the recording itself is well-done.

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