was the Greek name I was calling John who, besides all his other wonderful
qualities and skills, was also able to learn foreign languages in
zero time. John learned Greek very quickly. He never chose easy ways
to achieve extraordinary results. He was phenomenal.
To me, he was a great friend and collaborator from the first moment
I met him, in any problem or matter I had. Among others things, he
was also the chairman of ALEA III. As a graduate student in musicology
and as a very able violinist, he performed with me many times and often
in the most difficult undertakings. He never let me down. John never
let anybody down. He was able to do everything! He was so systematic!
He never failed to master every project he undertook!
How many of us did not dream to be like him, to inherit some of his
extraordinary human and musical qualities?
Since he left, I constantly ask myself WHY? WHY JOHN? He was a fantastic,
successful musicologist, a generous great teacher, an honest effective
administrator, an excellent colleague, a dearest friend, and, above
all, a unique human being.
One of our former students asked me, “Why do the good persons
leave us first?” I ask myself the same question. The day before
we heard the sad news, I sent him an e-mail. I was so sure he would
answer. He did, but not the way I was hoping.
Lament for John, a short four-minute piece
for solo horn, was written as soon as we heard the terrible reality
on April 14. It is based on
a phrase of a folk lament from Mani (a remote area of Peloponese, in
southern Greece), and seems to be my immense emotional reaction to
the unbearable event and a “very minuscule tribute” to
a great person.
John loved Greece and he was there many times.
It is so sad to write Laments for friends and persons you love (Yanni
Christou, Yanni Mantakas,
Manos Hadjidakis, Lenny Bernstein, Walter Trampler, Joseph Castaldo.
. .). It seems I am condemned to write Laments as long as I am unable
to conceive and understand the WHYs. Lament for John is only the first
of a series of similar pieces.