Magazine article Musical Times

IN MEMORIAM: Eric Sams

Magazine article Musical Times

IN MEMORIAM: Eric Sams

Article excerpt

I got to know the late Eric Sams through attempts to 'teach' his son Jeremy at Cambridge some 20 or so years ago [writes Robin Holloway]. I'd always enjoyed Sams père's books on Lieder - The songs of Hugo Wolf (Methuen, 1961; rev. Faber, 1983), The songs of Robert Schumann (Methuen, 1969; rev. Faber, 1993), both better by far in their later, fuller editions; then their much delayed companion, preceded by a BBC Music Guide (1972), in The songs of Johannes Brahms (Yale University Press, 2000) but, alas, never the hoped-for Schubert; and I had been a tremendous fan of the unique combination of ingenuity and empathy by which he unveiled, in a number of MT articles from the 1960s and 1970s, the secret impulses of Schumann's ciphers (and other games), showed in detail how they worked and how they translated into living music. It was in the MT, too, that, in addition to numerous book, music and record reviews, he published his solution to the hidden 'Enigma' theme, demonstrating how each of Elgar's 14 variations was related harmonically to 'Auld Lang Syne'. …

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