The following list is of just some of the musicians, and others who made their mark in the world of classical music, who died in 2009. Their contributions live on in many fine recordings and memories of great performances. (Links are provided to those whose deaths were previously noted on the Allmusic blog.)
Lukas Foss (Aug. 15, 1922 - Feb. 1, 2009)
John McGlinn (Sept. 18, 1953 - Feb. 14, 2009)
Conductor John McGlinn made his mark with his discovery, restoration, and recording of all the original material for the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical, Show Boat. McGlinnâ€™s work and its 1988 recording were hailed for its historic significance and for the quality of the performance. After that, he was in demand as a conductor of stage and concert versions of musicals in New York and Europe. McGlinn spent all of his career focused in musical theater, opera/operetta, or in the case of the Gershwinsâ€™ Hollywood output, film music genres. In the 1990s, he directed the Poulenc operas La Voix Humane and Les Mamelles de Tiresias at Juilliard, and in the early 2000s recorded Wagner excerpts for Naxos. He recorded several other musicals -- some of which remain unreleased -- as well as making critical editions of the scores. At the time of his death, he was working on a new edition of the 1954 musical Peter Pan.
Ambrosian Chorus, London Sinfonietta, John McGlinn - Kern: Show Boat - Act 1, Scene 1. Cotton Blossom
Anne Brown (Aug. 9, 1912 - Mar. 13, 2009)
Maurice Jarre (Sept. 13, 1924 - Mar. 29, 2009)
Nicholas Maw (Nov. 5, 1935 - May 19, 2009)
Edward Downes (Jun. 17, 1924 - Jul. 10, 2009)
The tragic end of the lives of Edward Downes and his wife in July became a news story on its own, leaving little room for remembrance of his career and artistic endeavors. He first conducted professionally in 1950, with the Carl Rosa Opera Company, and quickly moved on to larger and longer appointments with companies such as Covent Garden, the Australian Opera, and the BBC Philharmonic. He specialized in revisiting and editing Russian music and operas, such as Prokofiev's War and Peace, that had otherwise received little attention in the West, as well as promoting new British music.
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Edward Downes - Korngold: Symphony in F sharp, Op. 40 - Scherzo. Allegro molto
Sinfonia 21, Edward Downes - Prokofiev: Eugene Onegin, incidental music, Op. 71 - Scene 2. Onegin and Lensky at Lensky's country house
Merce Cunningham (Apr. 16, 1919 - Jul. 26, 2009)
Hildegard Behrens (Feb. 9, 1937 - Aug. 18, 2009)
German soprano Behrens was often recognized for the power and intelligence of her performances and musical choices, but few probably know that she actually graduated law school as a junior barrister before turning to music as a career. Brunnhilde and Salome were the most celebrated of her many successful turns as a strong, dramatic lead character. She wasn't a prima donna opera star, but her recitals and master classes would consistently attract audiences as regularly as her stage performances and recordings. In fact, her death occurred as she prepared to participate in classes and recitals at a festival in Japan. Behrens is perhaps best remembered -â€“ at least in the United States â€“- for her frequent appearances on Metropolitan Opera broadcasts in the 1970s and '80s.
Hildegard Behrens, Munich Radio Orchestra, Peter Schneider - Wagner: Die GÃ¶tterdÃ¤mmerung - Act 3. Starke Scheite schichtet mir dort
Hildegard Behrens, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan - Strauss: Salome - Ah! Du wolltest mich nicht deinen Mund kÃ¼ssen lassen, Jochanaan!
Geoffrey Tozer (Nov. 5, 1954 - Aug. 21, 2009)
The Australian pianist Geoffrey Tozer was once referred to as "the one who plays like a Russian" by Tatiana Nikolayeva. This was no doubt in part because of his championing of the music of Nikolay Medtner, one of several less-well-known composers that Tozer was praised for spotlighting. His recordings on Chandos feature music for piano and orchestra by Rawsthorne, Respighi, Rimsky-Korsakov, and solo piano works by Artur Schnabel and John Blackwood McEwen, although there are many other composers represented in his recorded work also.
Geoffrey Tozer - Medtner: Sonaten-Triade, Op. 11 - No. 3, in C major
Geoffrey Tozer, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Matthias Bamert - Rawsthorne: Piano Concerto No. 1 - 1. Capriccio. Allegro molto - Presto
Erich Kunzel (Mar. 21, 1935 - Sept. 1, 2009)
The standing and relationship of conductor Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra is akin to that of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. Kunzel began guest conducting the Boston Pops orchestra at the invitation of Fiedler in 1970, and his return engagements eventually numbered over 100. In 1977, when the Cincinnati Pops were created, Kunzel, a resident conductor for the Cincinnati Symphony, was the natural choice to lead the new ensemble. The dozens of albums -- more than 80 -- that Kunzel and the Pops made for Telarc not only established the artists' national reputation, but that of the audiophile label as well. One of Kunzel's and the Pops' first albums, Ein Straussfest, remains one of the finest recordings of Viennese light music made outside of German speaking lands.
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Erich Kunzel - Johann Strauss, Sr.: Radetzky-Marsch, Op. 228
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Erich Kunzel - Johann Strauss, Jr.: Unter Donner und Blitz (Thunder and Lightning), Op. 324
Fred Mills (1935 - Sept. 7, 2009)
Fred Mills was a trumpeter, arranger, and teacher, well known to brass players world-wide. His first instrument was a cornet bought from a traveling salesman. He studied at Juilliard, and was a member of several orchestras, including the American Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony of the Air, and the Casals Festival Orchestra, before joining the Canadian Brass in 1972. He remained with that ensemble for 24 years, leaving to teach at the University of Georgia. Mills was killed in a car accident as he was returning home from the airport following a European concert trip. His legacy is the many Grammy nominated recordings he made with the Canadian Brass and the dozens of arrangements he made for brass ensembles that are widely performed and recorded.
Canadian Brass - Bach (arr. by Fred Mills): Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
Leon Kirchner (Jan. 24, 1919 - Sept. 17, 2009)
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kirchner was an individual voice in modern American music. He did post-graduate studies with Ernst Bloch and Roger Sessions, but the biggest influence on him was his undergraduate work with Arnold Schoenberg. Although such influences might suggest that Kirchner's music is "difficult" or not audience-friendly by today's standards, he adapted his teachers' methods to suit his own tastes for music that is extremely expressive in its concise construction. Kirchner's music is immediately accessible without great effort and beautiful on its own terms.
Yo-Yo Ma, Philadelphia Orchestra, David Zinman - Kirchner: Music for Cello & Orchestra
Beaux Arts String Quartet - Kirchner: String Quartet No. 3 for string quartet & tape
Art Ferrante (Sept. 7, 1921 - Sept. 20, 2009)
The duo piano team of Ferrante & Teicher reached the heights of fame in the 1950s and '60s, but Art Ferrante and Lou Teicher continued to perform together until 1989. The two met as students at Juilliard and teamed up to perform classical piano duos on stage a few years after they had graduated. They quickly developed a large audience for their arrangements of pop songs and movie themes that had started out as add-ons to their classical selections. The dynamic duo sold millions of albums of their easy listening arrangements and made over 5,200 concert appearances during their career as a team.
Ferrante & Teicher - Boone: Exodus, film score - Theme
Wilma Cozart Fine (Mar. 29, 1927 - Sept. 21, 2009)
Her name is not a familiar one, but Wilma Cozart Fine and her husband, C. Robert Fine, were something of pioneers in the recording industry in the 1950s and 1960s. She was a vice president -- a rarity in the industry even now -- at Mercury Records when Fine began recording orchestras using a carefully-placed single microphone, which picked up the ambient sound of the recording space in a way that suggested to the listener that s/he was there with the orchestra (later, two more microphones were added to the process). Cozart Fine soon took over recording duties from C. Robert Fine and oversaw many of the Mercury Living Presence recordings, and in the 1990s, their re-mastered CD re-issues. The Living Presence series is still recognized, half a century later, as having a distinctive sound, different from any other stereo recordings of classical music.
Eastman-Rochester Orchestra and Chorus, Howard Hanson (recorded by Wilma Cozart Fine) - Hanson: Symphony No. 2, Op. 30 "Romantic" - 2. Andante con tenerezza
Alicia de Larrocha (May 23, 1923 - Sept. 25, 2009)
The pianist Alicia de Larrocha seemed tireless as the foremost interpreter of Spanish and Catalan piano music. She was physically small, but she successfully performed most of the large, famous piano concertos -- including those by Liszt and Rachmaninov. Yet it was her performances of the music of AlbÃ©niz, Falla, Granados, Mompou, and other Iberian composers, as well as her Mozart interpretations, that endeared her to audiences. The intuitive fluidity and poetry of her playing were built on a foundation of strength and technical ability that was almost surprising given her petite stature.
Alicia de Larrocha - AlbÃ©niz: Iberia Suite, B. 47 - Primer cuaderno. 1. EvocaciÃ³n
Alicia de Larrocha, L'Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, Sergiu Comissiona - Falla: Noches en los jardines de EspaÃ±a (Nights in the Gardens of Spain), G. 49 - 3. En los jardines de la Sierra de CÃ³rdoba
Helen Watts (Dec. 7, 1927 - Oct. 7, 2009)
Known almost as much for her professionalism as her voice, Helen Watts was a Welsh contralto whose ability and reliability both vocally and behaviorally was almost taken for granted. She began as a singer of Handel and Bach, but expanded her repertoire to Mahler, Wagner, Britten, and Tippett, to name just a few of the composers she recorded and performed. Watts worked with most of the opera companies in the United Kingdom, as well as appearing in concert and on stages throughout Europe, Australia, and America, and with conductors such as Malcolm Sargent, Georg Solti, and Adrian Boult.
Helen Watts, Stuttgart Bach Collegium, Helmuth Rilling - Bach: Cantata No. 170, "VergnÃ¼gte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust," - VergnÃ¼gte Ruh! beliebte Seelenlust
Helen Watts, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult - Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius - No. 14, Praise to the Holiest
H.C. Robbins Landon (Mar. 6, 1926 - Nov. 20, 2009)
H.C. Robbins Landon's name should be known to anyone who is a fan of the music of Franz Joseph Haydn. Landon was the musicologist who more than any other in the 20th century, discovered and/or edited Haydn's original manuscripts. His published writings have become standard reference works on Haydn, but he also wrote about Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven.
Elisabeth SÃ¶derstrÃ¶m (May 7, 1927 - Nov. 20, 2009)
Soprano Elisabeth SÃ¶derstrÃ¶m was a member of the Royal Swedish Opera for her entire career, but she performed on stage and in recital world-wide in a variety of roles, in music by composers from Monteverdi to Ligeti. In a single year, early in her career, she sang all three lead roles in Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Operas of Strauss, Mozart, and JanÃ¡cek were some of her more well-known and well-respected interpretations and recordings. Her voice was not particularly powerful, but her stage presence and personality were immediately engaging, communicative, and memorable.
Elisabeth SÃ¶derstrÃ¶m, Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra, Pierre Boulez - Debussy: PellÃ©as et MÃ©lisande - Act 1. Scene 2. Un appartement dans le chÃ¢teau (A room in the castle)
Elisabeth SÃ¶derstrÃ¶m, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Mackerras - JanÃ¡cek: KÃ¡ta KabanovÃ¡ - Act 3. Videt se s nÃm