I can't believe I just cancelled a luncheon appointment with an old friend who had been at it, wanting to reconnect with me and pick my brain on a subject (with what's left of my brain, that is). My reason: I'm mourning for Claudio Abbado. It is foremost in my mind alongside a more practical but minor concern--unmet deadlines.
What more can one add to the accolades heaped on this man? In one recording, the description went: "Claudio Abbado, one with his orchestra, delivers a very moving interpretation which rises like the most beautiful prayer."
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa described to the BBC his "quite amazing" method of conducting by heart. "Because he didn't have to look at music, he could absolutely concentrate on you."
Another BBC report quotes Mark Wilkinson, president of Deutsche Grammophon, a record label, as saying, "The world has lost one of the most inspiring musicians of our era, a man who put himself entirely at the service of the music he conducted and, in doing so, made listeners feel that they were hearing it properly for the very first time."
Aside from being among the finest conductors of any century, Abbado will always be remembered for encouraging young talents, among them our country's Cecile Licad.
The BBC report said of him: "He was passionate about young musicians and founded youth orchestras across Europe."
A few days ago, Joseph Uy, one of my music chums, told me of a nightly routine of his--listening to music to banish the discouragement and frustration from the hours that went before. Just hearing Sumi Jo's version of Caccini's "Ave Maria" consoles him before sleep overtakes him.
He signed his note, "Haaaay, why do we love music so much?"
Love it so much that even someone such as I has insanely re-prioritized my life so I can move my activities around music. How does one do that? Ask this near-impoverished woman, and I'll tell you how my soul has riches even the foolish Napoles couple and cohorts can't count.
I wrote to Joseph, "Naku, music is in some way the voice of God. Ang hirap mabuhay, kung wala pang music, paano natin kakayanin?"
His reply was swift: "Tama ka! I tried to get away, but hindi ko talaga kaya to live without music."
Here's to Cecile Licad, Sumi Jo, Claudio Abbado. They come but once in one's lifetime but how they have blessed all of us!