Birthday coincidences

Google Alerts let me know that Northwest Reverb listed me among other musicians with the birthday of October 29. And with whom do I share this date? Jon Vickers and Václav Neumann (very good); James Dillon (well, OK, I guess); but also Harold Darke – known for initiating the longest-running lunchtime organ recital series in the world – and Vivian Ellis – whose tune Alpine Meadows served as the theme song for the BBC’s comedy quiz show My Word!

George Crumb once remarked to me how many musicians seemed to be born under the sign of Scorpio, a phenomenon of interest to him, given the fact that he labeled each of the pieces in his first two books of Makrokosmos for piano with the initials of someone born under a different sign. A colleague standing nearby, the late musicologist Eugene Wolf, overheard George talking about the preponderance of musical Scorpios and poured cold water on George’s observation by saying, “yes, about one-twelfth of all composers.” Interesting that Crumb and Berio share a birthday. According to George, he was born the day the stock market started to go down in 1929.

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