The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Maestro and peacemaker Kurt Masur has died at 88 | December 26, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

Not many arts figures get to achieve what German conductor Kurt Masur (below) did in his lifetime.

Kurt Masur closeup

He was credited with turning in great performances of great classical repertoire with many of the world’s greatest orchestras.

He was credited with reviving the artistic stature of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

And he was credited with helping to peacefully bring down the Berlin Wall and reunite East Germany and West Germany.

Quite the legacy!

A week ago, on Dec. 19 in Greenwich, Conn.,  Kurt Masur died at 88 of complications from Parkinson’s disease, from which he had been suffering for a long time.

That same day, Wisconsin Public Radio played some recordings by Kurt Masur. The Ear praises such news tie-ins and thanks WPR for being so on the ball. It is a model of timely radio programming and makes classic music more urgent and relevant.

Kurt Masur with orchestra

Here are two obituaries for Kurt Masur.

The first is from The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/20/arts/music/kurt-masur-new-york-philharmonic-conductor-dies.html?_r=0

The second comes from National Public Radio (NPR), which includes his performance of the finale of the Ninth Symphony – the “Ode to Joy” – by Ludwig van Beethoven:

http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2015/12/19/460392051/remembering-kurt-masur-the-conductor-who-rebuilt-the-new-york-philharmonic

And here, in a YouTube video, is one of the performances for which he will be most remembered and which seems particularly fitting on his death: The “German” Requiem by Johannes Brahms that he conducted after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

 

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