Music is muted by 3 deaths in a day

Music is muted by 3 deaths in a day


norman lebrecht

April 19, 2022

The composer Harrison Birtwistle, gifted with a sound that could not be mistaken for any other’s.

The pianist Radu Lupu, a humble ethereal interpreter of Schubert and Beethoven, above all others.

The pianist Nicholas Angelich, a Francophone American with a rare sensititive for Ravel.

All taken on the same day.

Here are a few tributes.

Conductor Susanna Mälkki: What a sad day for music. The news about Sir Harrison Birtwistle leaving us too is a big loss… yet another one of the generation of the true giants of modernism going.
That he wrote such amazingly powerful and uncompromising music while being such a sweet and fun person is heartwarming in so many ways. I remember extremely well my first encounter with him – it was in Lucerne back in 2004. I was invited to conduct the Ensemble intercontemporain for the very first time, and on the programme there was nothing less than Secret Theatre by him, plus “Tragoedia”, plus some other scary pieces. I knew he’d be there, and indeed we met at the general rehearsal. Needless to say, I was quite nervous to see him after the run, but he was adorable…. and after warmly congratulating me, he even confidently whispered in my ear: “I’m so glad you do the right tempo in the fast bit. Pierre is always way too slow!!” And he giggled.
After the concert, I also met this certain “Pierre “, also for the first time – a moment which I had feared for weeks, of course. And there he was: backstage, laughing so warmly – and imitating the madly fast section in Secret Theatre!!!! My baptism by fire was full of unexpected smiles!
May he rest in peace. I’m sure there are quite some beautiful debates going on up there on a remote cloud, about counterpoint.

Pianist Eric Lu: It is devastating to imagine that this great, humble, giant of music has left this earth. Radu Lupu was an extraordinarily great musician – with a capital M. And his music-making was life-changing. I cannot even begin to describe all the revelatory and moving moments his music has given me, and how he can bring so many great works to an otherworldly emotional and philosophical truth. His poetic speaking through the music encompassed everything, from the sublime, to the immensely powerful, to the sense of playfulness. But above else, this humanity was always there, and you felt you could see deep inside his soul, and know the person there, through the music. But words cannot even begin to do him justice.. With love, and immense gratitude – thank you, Radu Lupu.

Cellist Gautier Capucon: Infinite sadness to say goodbye to Nicholas Angelich yesterday… 51 years old
A friend and accomplice for so many years,
A poet, so gentle and sensitive,
Nicholas leaves us a day after Radu Lupu, 2 piano giants this Easter weekend.
Violinist Renaud Capucon: Nicholas,
Like your sound, you were bright and tender at the same time.
You were an extraordinary pianist, a sensitive, loyal, generous friend.
Your brutal departure leaves us a great void.
I will never play a Brahms note again without being around you.


Image: Radu Lupu playing Brahms 4-hand with Murray Perahia


  • music lover says:

    What a sad day for music…let´s not just mourn them,but celebrate their work and their lives.

  • Y2K says:

    Radu Lupu is my favorite Schubert intepreter. His performances of the Mozart D major Sonata and Schubert F minor Fantasie with Perahia are absolutely sublime and unmatched. What a sad day.