Edward Downes has been in the news this week. The British born conductor (1925) long associated both with the BBC and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, traveled with his wife to a clinic in Switzerland where the couple, under medical supervision, took their own lives. Sir Edward was 84, nearly blind and deaf and immobilized by old age. Lady Downes was in the final,painful stages of cancer. The couple had been married fifty years and decided to go out peacefully, together. I applaud them.
But I've had some e mails of sympathy! I never met Sir Edward Downes. I wrote my doctoral thesis on the critical writings of Edward Downes (1911-2001) the long time host of the Texaco Opera Quiz. MY Edward Downes was a critic and musicologist. I was able to find through his scrapbooks years of musical criticism he wrote for the Boston Evening Transcript in the late 1930s. I've also been able to write about his life based on recorded interviews I had with him in New York in the mid 1990s. There are TWO Edward Downes in music. Both honored and influenced many by lives of devotion to music. God bless them both.
Edward Downes's writings and my comnents of him can be found if you search the early years of this blog. My paper on his life, with all the interviews and excerpts from his critical writings can be accessed as follows:
go to www.ohiolink.edu/etd
Type my name in the search function: Christopher Purdy
Edward Downes: A Life in Music and the Media will come up.