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Barry Oakley

Sir Stephen Cleobury

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So sorry to learn only a few minutes ago of the untimely death of Sir Stephen Cleobury. A superb organist and choral conductor.

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Not three months after his retirement and going to God on the Feast of St. Cecilia.

Requiem aeternam

 

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Have just heard from Roy Goodman's sister that Roy visited Stephen in the York hospice only 10 days ago. Apparently Stephen was studying and listening to Das Rheingold at the time.

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This is, indeed, a great shock.  I recall Sir Stephen in another capacity.  He was formerly Chairman of the IAO Benevolent Fund, and at the Annual Meeting of the Trustees and Board of Management one couldn’t fail to be impressed by his genuine concern and compassion for the Fund’s beneficiaries, whether suffering from ill-health or for those who had fallen on hard times.  Under his Chairmanship grants were also made to assist students who were unable to afford tuition fees and for purchasing music.  One could add to those his efficiency and courtesy in chairing the meetings.  May he rest in peace.

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I heard of this through a Facebook post from Bristol Cathedral this morning. This is very sad news indeed. He was as much a part of Christmas to the choir, clergy and scholars of Kings College as he was to the many listeners on BBC Radio 3, both in the UK and in other countries who have, do and will continue to, crowd around their radios on the 24th and 25th December each year. He will be much missed at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols this Christmas, and always. We should also remember that, for many singers and organists, he was an inspiration.

I have heard his setting of the responses at Bristol on a number of occasions when I have been at Choral Evensong. I don't know if Sir Stephen did settings for the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis but, either way, it seems appropriate to quote Luke 2 v29 which words form the opening to the Nunc Dimittis: "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word."

I know this is not the forum's YouTube thread but I will post the link here to a recorded statement issued today from the Dean of Kings Cambridge, Rev. Stephen Cherry:

Our sympathies go not only to Sir Stephen's family and friends but also to the choristers and scholars at King's. May he rest in peace.

Dave

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Life can be so unfair.  The poor chap had only just retired.  At least his memory will live on.

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12 hours ago, DaveHarries said:

I know this is not the forum's YouTube thread but I will post the link here to a recorded statement issued today from the Dean of Kings Cambridge, Rev. Stephen Cherry:

Thank you, Dave, for reproducing that link. What very sad and upsetting news this is, and how keenly the people of King's and the thousands of others with whom Sir Stephen worked will be feeling his loss.

Strangely, only this week I had re-watched some of Sir Stephen's Priory Records DVD - I was especially listening to the Reger Weihnachten. In the course of wondering what I might play, this morning as a mark of respect, I have decided to keep it simple and play another of the pieces from that DVD, the Thalben-Ball Elegy. 

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