Remembering Robert Helps


video


Here is a little hommage to my old teacher Robert Helps.  I wrote this piece a few years after he died as a sort of memorial.  Those of us who knew Bob all have stories that usually start with things like, "I remember when he came up to me one day and said, 'Kurt, I'll tell you the third dirtiest limerick that I know....' or 'Kurt, there are very few things in this world that I want to do for four hours at a time.  One of them is NOT listening to Wagner.'"  Bob would tell us stories about Aaron Copland, Virgil Thompson, John Cage.  He would talk about Sessions and Babbitt whose music he had premiered as a teenager.  The stories about Bob always return to his own incomparable playing and writing.  There is a nice web monument for Bob here.  You can also look him up in Groves Dictionary.   My friend David Matthews (not the rock musician) is playing in this recording.  I've placed various images of Bob from different points in his career to accompany the music.  I believe that I'm the only composition student that he ever accepted.

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