A reminder to take tomorrow off so you can go to Stratford for Maureen Forrester's 81th birthday
(This was corrected to fix my birthday math)
Maureen Forrester would have turned 81 tomorrow, had she not died last June.
To make up for the long-overdue memorial tribute and to mark the big birthday, former CBC Radio 2 producer Neil Crory has literally pulled out all the stops, assembling a live and via-video collection of a who's who in the music works to pay homage to one of the great singers of the second half of the 20th century.
Stratford Summer Music and the Stratford Festival have organized a massive memorial at the Avon Theatre. It starts at 3 p.m. If you need more information, you'll find it here.
You can get in the mood with this excellent obituary the Telegraph ran last year.
I fell in love with Brahms' Alto Rhapsody the first time I heard it, and I'm pretty sure the soloist was Maureen Forrester.
Here she is performing live with the Boston Symphony and conductor Seiji Ozawa (who had been music director of the Toronto Symphony previously) at the Tanglewood Festival in 1971:
Here's a translation of Goethe's poem:
But who is that, on one side?
His track loses itself in the bushes;
Behind him spring back
The twigs together;
The grass stands up again;
The desert swallows him up.
Ah, who will heal the sorrows
Of him for whom balsam turned to poison?
Who drank hatred of men
From the abundance of love!
Once disdained, now a disdainer,
He feeds secretly on
His own worth,
In unsatisfying selfishness.
If there is on your psaltery,
O father of Love, one sound
Acceptable to his ear,
Refresh his heart with it.
Open his overclouded gaze
To the thousand springs
Hard by him who thirsts
In the desert.