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Ned Rorem, main American composer and diarist, has died at age 99 : Misleading Cadence : World


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American composer Ned Rorem has died at age 99. The Pulitzer Prize winner was finest identified for his artwork songs — and his controversial diaries. Rorem died Friday morning at his dwelling in Manhattan. His writer, Boosey & Hawkes, confirmed his loss of life from pure causes to World.

Ned Rorem was quietly defiant, in additional methods than one. The primary was by the music he selected to jot down. Whereas he did compose symphonies, concertos and operas — the sorts of items that can win you a Pulitzer — his popularity rests on his huge physique of greater than 500 artwork songs.

The track “The Lordly Hudson” gained Ned Rorem his first award. The composer bought an early begin with a scholarship to review at Philadelphia’s prestigious Curtis Institute of Music when he was simply 19. Then got here a Fulbright, then a Guggenheim and, in 1976, the Pulitzer for his orchestral work Air Music: Ten Etudes for Orchestra.

Air Music was an exception when it got here to the composer’s musical language — one thing that marked one other little bit of defiance on Rorem’s half. Usually, he held on to a conservative strategy at a time when the prevailing model was tutorial and atonal “serial music” during which practitioners did away with conventional tonality and favored collection of notes that have been meant to appear unfamiliar.

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And as Rorem instructed World in 2003 along with his typical wit, his defiance meant no one paid any consideration to him.

“When the serial killers got here alongside, a number of very tonal composers defected to the opposite camp, and so they wrote what was being written in these days,” he stated. ” A couple of nonetheless do. However some defected, and got here again. I felt just like the prodigal son’s older brother — I would at all times been an excellent boy.”

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Lots of people noticed issues fairly in a different way when it got here to issues non-musical. Actually, Rorem was “licentious” and “extremely indiscreet,” within the phrases of The New Yorker author Janet Flanner. She was speaking about his prose, and he or she meant it as a praise. Through the years, Rorem grew to become identified for his diaries — maybe much more than for his music. It began in 1966 along with his Paris Diary, which included an express chronicle of homosexual life lengthy earlier than such a factor grew to become routine.

Tim Web page, a Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic himself, is a fan of Rorem’s prose. “Though I like his compositions loads,” Web page says, “I might say that in some methods, the diaries and the criticism are the issues which imply probably the most to me. The bracing factor about Ned is that even while you disagree with him, he will get you pondering — and I believe that is one signal of an actual grasp critic.”

Rorem, who was born Oct. 23, 1923 in Richmond, Ind., shared totally different elements of himself relying on which medium he was working in. The written phrase is the place he shared the main points of his private life. In his music, not a lot.

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“Ned virtually prided himself on a sure emotional detachment, on a sure type of craftsmanship. His diaries have been the place he stored his diary — his music was one thing else,” Web page says.

Here is how Rorem himself put it in considered one of his books, known as Lies:

“I do not imagine that composers notate their moods, they do not inform the music the place to go. It leads them … Why do I write music? As a result of I wish to hear it. It is easy as that. Others could have extra expertise, extra sense of obligation. However I compose simply from necessity, and nobody else is making what I would like.”


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