Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Series-Disabled Legend Hans Keller

Hans Keller was born in 1919 and died in 1985, Hans was an Austrian-born British musician and writer who made significant contributions to musicology and music criticism, and invented the method of ‘Wordless Functional Analysis’ (in which a work is analysed in musical sound alone, without any words being heard or read).

Hans Keller was born into a well-to-do and culturally well-connected Jewish family in Vienna, and as a boy was taught by the same Oskar Adler who had, decades earlier, been Arnold Schoenberg’s boyhood friend and first teacher. Hans Keller also came to know the composer and performer Franz Schmidt, but was never a formal pupil. In 1938 the Anschluss forced Hans Keller to flee to London (where he had relatives), and in the years that followed he became a prominent and influential figure in the UK’s musical and music-critical life. Initially active as a violinist and violist, he soon found his niche as a highly prolific and provocative writer on music as well as an influential teacher, lecturer, broadcaster and coach.

An original thinker never afraid of controversy, Hans Keller’s passionate support of composers whose work he saw as under-valued or insufficiently understood made him a tireless advocate of Benjamin Britten and Arnold Schoenberg as well as an illuminating analyst of figures such as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. Much of this advocacy was carried out from within the BBC, where he came to hold several senior positions.

Hans Keller’s gift for systematic thinking, allied to his philosophical and psycho-analytic knowledge, bore fruit in the method of ‘Wordless Functional Analysis’ (abbreviated by the football-loving Hans Keller as ‘FA’), designed to furnish incontrovertibly audible demonstrations of a masterwork’s ‘all-embracing background unity’. This method was developed in tandem with a ‘Theory of Music’ which explicitly considered musical structure from the point of view of listener expectations; the ‘meaningful contradiction’ of expected ‘background’ by unexpectable ‘foreground’ was seen as generating a work’s expressive content. An element of Hans Keller’s theory of unity was the ‘Principle of Reversed and Postponed Antecedents and Consequents’, which has not been widely adopted. Hans Keller’s term ‘homotonality’, however, has proved useful to musicologists in several fields.

Hans Keller was married to the artist Milein Cosman, whose drawings illustrated some of his work.

As a man very prominent in the world of ‘contemporary music’ (even working for several years as the BBC’s ‘Chief Assistant, New Music’), Hans Keller had close personal and professional ties with many composers, and was frequently the dedicatee of new compositions. Those who dedicated works to him include:

Benjamin Britten (String Quartet No.3, Op. 94)
Benjamin Frankel (String Quartet No.5, Op.43)
Philip Grange,
David Matthews (Piano Trio No.1; ‘To Hans Keller’)
Bayan Northcott,
Buxton Orr (Piano Trio No.1; ‘In admiration and friendship’),
Robert Simpson (Symphony No.7; ‘To Hans and Milein Keller’).
Robert Matthew-Walker (Piano Sonata No.3 – ‘Fantasy-Sonata: Hamlet’), Op.34

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Series-Disabled Legend Stanley Sadie

Stanley Sadie CBE was born on 30 October, 1930 and died on 21 March, 2005 at his home in Cossington, Somerset, of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), which had been diagnosed only a few weeks earlier.. Stanley was a leading British musicologist, music critic, and editor. Stanley was editor of the 6th edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980), which was published as the 1st edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Stanley was educated at St Paul’s School, London, and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he read music under Thurston Dart (BA, MusB 1953, MA 1957, PhD 1958). Stanley doctoral dissertation was on mid 18th century British chamber music. After Cambridge, he taught at Trinity College of Music, London (1957-1965).

Stanley then turned to music journalism, becoming music critic for The Times (1964-1981), and contributing reviews to the Financial Times after 1981, when he had to leave his position and The Times because of his commitments to the Grove and other scholarly work. Stanley was editor of The Musical Times 1967-1987.

From 1970 Stanley was editor of what was planned to be the 6th edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980). Stanley oversaw major changes to the Dictionary, which grew from 9 volumes to 20, and was published as the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and is now referred to as the 1st edition under that name. Stanley was also an important force behind the 2nd (or 7th) edition (2001), which grew further to 29 volumes. Stanley also oversaw a major expansion of the Grove franchise, editing the 1 volume Grove Concise Dictionary of Music (1988), and several spinoff dictionaries, such as the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (3 volumes, 1984), the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, (with H. Wiley Hitchcock, 4 volumes, 1986), and the New Grove Dictionary of Opera (4 volumes, 1992). Stanley also edited composer biographies based on the entries in Grove.

Outside his work on the Grove Dictionaries, Stanley was a renowned Mozart scholar, publishing several books. Stanley also was instrumental in saving the Mayfair house where George Frideric Handel once lived, turning it into the Handel House Museum.

Stanley was president of the Royal Musical Association (1989-94), and of the International Musicological Society (1992-97).

Stanley married twice. Stanley’s 1st wife, Adele, by whom he had 2 sons and a daughter, died in 1978. By his 2nd wife, Julie Anne, also a musicologist, he had a son and daughter. Stanley was survived by all 5 of his children and Julie Anne.

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