Frans Brüggen, one of the pioneers of the period instrument movement and a leading international conductor, died this morning at the age of 79. He had been intending to celebrate his 80th birthday in October with his Orchestra of the 18th century.
I saw him last a year ago in Warsaw. He looked so frail and emaciated in his wheelchair at breakfast in our hotel that we wondered whether her would be able to perform. But his leadership was unimpaired and the concert was one of those pinpoint performances that last forever in the memory.
Frans started out as a recorder virtuoso, making his first recordings on Philips before forming the ensemble and recording copiously.
He was married to the art historian Machtelt Israëls; they had two daughters. His death was announced by the orchestra.
Red a portrait of Brüggen by Joel Cohen here.