Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Goodbye Oliver...I barely knew you!

I just got an email today from Metro's sister...linking me to an article in the Toronto Star about the sudden death of Oliver Schroer -- Canadian composer and violinist.

I first experienced his music on an Easter Sunday CBC special called "Churchgoing" (no where near as religious as it sounded...included readings and a Monty Python sketch!). Metro and I were driving and suddenly this song came on:

Schroer had actually done the Camino de Santiago through France and Spain:
He had just released his CD, Camino, to critical and audience raves. Camino was recorded over two months in 2004 as he and two friends walked the Camino de Santiago, an ancient trail that wanders across France and Spain. Schroer stopped in churches along the way to play his violin.

(Hmm...the Camino is a pilgrimage, not merely a trail. Silly newspaper!)

The music recorded along the way, with rudimentary equipment that he and his friends carried for 1,000 kilometers, was soaring -- violin pieces played in old cathedrals along the way. It appealed to me also as an architecture buff, as you can almost hear the expanse of vaulted ceilings in this music. I immediately went out and bought the CD, and it is now one of my favourites, that I force friends to listen to all the time.

But in the end, succumbing to leukemia at 52, it will be his attitude that stands out:

His acceptance of his imminent death comes from how he has lived.

"As an artist, I found my own unique voice and have been able to publicly express that voice. I've gotten to collaborate with different wonderful musicians. What more does an artist want?

"I'm one of the burning-bright guys who fire it all up and then go down in flames."

May we all have this acceptance when our time comes.



Anonymous said...

His album has become a regular feature at the local radio station (CKUA) here.
When I first heard it I liked it immediately. It's sad to think that there won't be anything new from him.


Lori said...

You're right, it is sad. He does have other, earlier work, that I hear is very different. I'll have to investigate.

PJ said...

I'm so glad you introduced me to that CD of his.