The late and supposedly less great

The late and supposedly less great


norman lebrecht

August 16, 2007

Since none of the British papers have yet noted the death of Russell Johnson, I devoted my page in the Evening Standard yesterday to an appreciation of the man and his work. You can read it here.
Nor have the UK obit pages cottoned on yet to the passing of Tikhon Khrennikov, the titular head of Russian music for more than half a century who directed the persecution of those composers who refused to toe the party line.
Instead, the main papers carry fulsome tributes today to my late colleague and near-neighbour Alan Blyth, an opera critic who, among his many strings, furnished all the main obituary pages with a stock of glowing eulogies of opera singers. I guess Alan, nice chap that he was, carried more weight on the obit desks than tyrannical Tikhon. Sic transit gloria mundi.


  • barbara fischer says:

    I note that the Independent posted an obituary for Tikhon Khrennikov today. I believe the Independent is still a UK paper, or have you, for some reason, decided that they no qualify as such ?
    Your comment rgarding the attention paid to the passing of Alan Blyth is simply mean-spirited. You imply his contribution was to write obituary notices of opera singers and ignore his large body of intelligent commentary over the years regarding the recording of opera and voice.
    NL: I wrote it before the Independent put up – Martin Anderson is commendably quick – or (today) the Telegraph. Still no Russ Johnson anywhere, tho.
    Mean? Moi? I liked and respected Alan. We had tea together on Boundary Road. He was a very good opera critic and commentator. Should he have gained obit precedence over the nost original and important maker of concert halls, or the tyrant of Soviet music? I rest my case.

  • Emlyn says:

    “Blyth Spirit” did not like Sir Georg Solti. I didn’t like “Blyth Spirit”.

  • Brian says:

    Norman, why no posts lately? Your blogging presence is sorely missed over here in NYC, where most classical music critics are shills for a troubled and dying classical music industry.