Mystery score

Mystery score

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Everybody Has an Angle

On the RMS Titanic disaster, that is: a press release from the BSO tells me they are going to spotlight a memorial plaque honoring the musicians who played as the ship went down, down, down. Here's the story, which (my cynicism aside) is legitimate:


BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA TO SPOTLIGHT MEMORIAL PLAQUE IN HONOR OF THE MUSICIANS WHO DROWNED WHILE STILL PLAYING AS THE TITANIC WENT DOWN; TRIBUTE TO TAKE PLACE AT SYMPHONY HALL DURING PERFORMANCES APRIL 12-14
ON APRIL 26, 1912, BOSTON SYMPHONY WAS THE FIRST TO DO A MUSICAL TRIBUTE
IN HONOR OF THE LIVES LOST
In conjunction with this weekend's commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the Boston Symphony will spotlight a memorial plaque in honor of the musicians who drowned while still playing (famously alleged as “Nearer, My God, to Thee”); the BSO tribute will take place during performances at Symphony Hall April 12-14.  Boston philanthropist and arts patron Isabella Stewart Gardner, a close friend of BSO founder Henry Lee Higginson, was so moved by the story of the musicians who continued to play while the ship was sinking that she commissioned a marble plaque in their memory. Though the musicians were not members of the BSO—nor were any of them connected to Boston (all Europeans, they were employed through a company out of Liverpool)—the poignant plaque was hung in the main hallway of Symphony Hall, where it remains today, in honor of their bravery.  A press clipping from the Boston Postdated September 23, 1912, describes the plaque, and states that the donor preferred to remain anonymous. It wasn't until many years later that her identity was revealed.
The BSO is also presumed to be the first institution to do a musical tribute honoring the lives lost (this fact was referred to in a news clipping a day after the tribute), which took place on April 26, 1912  (see program page here). The BSO performed the Funeral March from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, Symphony No. 3, under the direction of Max Fiedler. 
From April 12 through 14, the Boston Symphony will place flowers near the plaque, and a display case in the main hall of Symphony Hall will offer information about the installation of the plaque and the BSO's musical tribute. 

[You can see the memorial plaque here.]

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