Today's Classical Music Video

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Remembering Lois Marshall (Jan. 29 1924 - Feb. 19 1997)

This coming Feb. 19 marks 15 years since the passing of Canadian soprano Lois Marshall.  I remember so vividly the sadness I felt when I heard she had passed away, rather unexpectedly, from complications following surgery that February in 1997.  I also remember the memorial concert at Walter Hall quite some weeks later, and there was not a dry eye in the house, mine included.  I first heard Lois Marshall in a Hart House recital in the late 70's when she sang Schubert's Winterreise with Anton Kuerti at the piano, and later Die schone Mullerin with her good friend and colleague Greta Kraus.  I'll never forget going to her apartment on Castle Frank Road to interview her for an article in Opera Canada. She was delightful, down to earth and warm. We spent a couple of hours that evening reminiscing about her career and her life. We would occasionally chat on the phone after that, and talking with her was always a pleasure.  A private person, Lois was emphatic that she didn't want a biography written. It was some 13 years after her death that Dr. James Neufeld, a former colleague at Trent, managed to publish a biography on her with the blessings of Lois' closest friends and relatives. It is an interesting and respectfully discreet treatment of a great singer.  To remember Lois Marshall, here are two clips of her singing Scottish folk songs, "Ae Fond Kiss" and "Loch Lomond"  The first one was at her farewell recital in December 1982, with Stuart Hamilton at the piano.  The second clip was 24 years earlier, in 1958 with her mentor Weldon Kilburn at the piano.

Joseph K. So

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