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Classical Notes

Daniel Pinkham's passing

Posted at 10:50 AM on December 19, 2006 by Don Lee

Beloved Boston composer and organist Daniel Pinkham died yesterday at the age of 83. Musical America reports the news.

Michael Barone passes along this remembrance from Pinkham's longtime colleague, Barbara Owen, founder of the Organ Historical Society: "He was much loved and respected by many, especially those of us in the Boston area who had known him for many years. We will miss his always cheerful presence and wry sense of humor."

I wish I could say I knew him, but in the early 1980s, from the ranks of Boston's Handel and Haydn Society chorus, I was able several times to observe the cheerfulness Owen describes. Pinkham often supplied continuo for H&H concert performances. In any rehearsal exchange with the conductor or colleagues, he was ready with a quip and a grin. Because of that approachability, it took me awhile to accept that he was THE Daniel Pinkham.

Pinkham wanted his music to be widely performed. At this time of year, thanks to his 1957 Christmas Cantata, it's easy to demonstrate that it has been. In a search just now, I quickly came upon three performances that happened around here this month: two in the Twin Cities by Magnum Chorum and another at the University of Minnesota Duluth.