Farewell Maurice Sendak

By Weenson Oo on 15:41

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Maurice Sendak was according to the New York Times, the most important children's book illustrator of the 20th century. I wouldn't argue with that, having purchased a now-lost copy of Mahler's Symphony No3 on RCA Records by James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It was as much the sleeve as a desire to know the work that encouraged me to buy that particular recording from a now equally long-gone music shop on the northern reaches of Regent's Park Road, one of the few music stores which in my days on a student 's budget was offering brand new recordings at a discount. 

The magic of Mahler 3, now my favourite of all classical works was captured perfectly by the work of Sendak. Mahler would wake early each morning to work in his little studio, a composing hut as it was, built on a lakeside and surrounded by a flower-strewn meadow. Unsurprising then that such delights of nature would be encapsulated into music which opens with a movement intriguingly and delightfully entitled ' Pan Awakes, Summer Marches In '. From there Mahler revealed to us in music about what  the flowers told him and then the animals and then by man before the angels have their say and finally to be crowned by universal love. It was credit to RCA therefore that they recognised from Maurice Sendak's  own repertoire, the perfect technical and artistic rendition that would capture all of Mahler's musical vision as Sendak's work would tell us what came to Mahler in the night. 

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