I was shocked and saddened to learn that Erich Kunzel, director of the Cincinnati Pops since its inception in 1977, passed away today at age 74. In April, Kunzel was diagnosed with cancer.
When I interviewed the maestro in January of this year, it was quite clear that this man was as full of energy and vitality as his recordings. Kunzel had a huge personality and his sense of humor was so colorful that it caught me off guard. After all, I have to admire the sheer frankness of a conductor that says of Ravel’s Bolero, “Players hate the damn thing. It goes on forever and doesn’t do anything.”
Tomorrow, I plan a tribute to the maestro. Tune in to Classical Music from 11am to 3pm on WV Public Radio.
So, Maestro Kunzel, wave that baton at the angels and make them sound as excellent as your beloved orchestra.
Jim Lange's interview with Erich Kunzel about "Bolero"