Friday, June 04, 2004


Listening to the Dvorak Bagatelles this morning (for the unusual combination of string trio and harmonium) I was reminded of my old friend Theo who introduced me to this work, amongst many others. I met him when singing with the Melbourne Chorale in the late 1960s and maintained the friendship for thirty years until his death in the late 90s; though in the last years I did not see much of him.

A pleasant, light tenor he joined the Australian Opera chorus around 1970 and sang with them until his health proved too unreliable, when he retired to the country.

He kindly let me stay with him in Sydney on my various visits there in the 1970s, getting me in to dress rehearsals at the AO and taking me round backstage at the Opera House. He also introduced me to a wide range of music, in particular Janacek (Sinfonietta and the Glagolitic Mass). He was an enthusiastic collector of recordings, constantly buying and selling various performances of works and always keen to extol the virtues of this conductor's Mozart over that one's. Perhaps surprisingly he was more interested in listening to orchestral and instrumental music over opera or choral, but he did have quite a collection of Verdi, Strauss and (I think) some Wagner.

During the 1980s he branched out into photography taking many beautiful photographs of equally beautiful young men, many of which were published in the gay press of the time (under a pseudonym). Whenever I saw him he would always produce an album of his latest pictures to entertain me with.

After leaving the Opera he bought a property in the country and died, I think, in 1999. There are many other works than the Dvorak Bagatelles that remind me of him, but these beautiful miniatures are the most evocative. Thank you Theo.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

. . . with which to entertain me.

6:49 pm  

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