Friday, September 14, 2012

William Duckworth (1943-2012)

It's been one of the greatest honors of my musical life to have helped produce a disc of William Duckworth's magnificent piano work, The Time Curve Preludes. I didn't ever meet him and only exchanged a few emails with him over years, but his music had an incalculable effect on my life and work. I listened, studied his scores, read his books. It seemed inevitable that our paths would cross at some point, but circumstances never aligned and Bill succumbed to pancreatic cancer this week.

Many postings have already been made and I will not attempt to expand upon them further. Kyle Gann knew him well and wrote a lovely tribute in the wake of his passing. My friend and fellow irritable hedgehog, Andy Lee has posted a moving tribute here.

If you did a formal survey of "most influential composers" Bill's name would probably not appear very high on the list. His music didn't have the cache needed to snare the big prizes. But literally ALL of my musical colleagues know and admire his work. We composers seldom agree on much, but Bill's music garnered incredibly broad enthusiasm. The web has been flooded with testimonials of his marvelous teaching and celebrations of his work. A subtler, but perhaps more telling sort of "influence." I, for one, am eternally grateful for his presence.

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