Sheet music albatross

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 8.10.39 AMSay, do you know that expression, “an albatross around your neck?” It comes from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” in which a sailor who shoots a friendly albatross is forced to wear its carcass around his neck as punishment

I probably would have never thought this expression could be used in reference to sheet music, but when Carl Crosier died a year ago, he left a bunch of piano music down in our storage unit. I asked my sister and cousin (both pianists) to take what they wanted, but I was still left with about three file drawers-full of music by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schubert, etc. — all music I will never play. There was even a complete drawer of nothing but piano concertos (!) which in my wildest dreams, I could never attempt to play. I even asked Mark Russell, a local piano teacher, if either he or his colleagues wanted any of it, and he pretty much said it was going to be very hard to get rid of — either give it to the Friends of the Library, or throw it out. This however, was just not an option for me — I just couldn’t throw all that expensive music in the trash!

John McCreary’s widow, Betsy McCreary, has a bunch of organ music which her husband left, and she also has had a hard time getting rid of it. I and several others picked out what we wanted, but she still has a lot left. We entertained the thought of perhaps having a sheet music swap meet at a future AGO meeting but did not really confirm anything.

Jonathan Korth

Jonathan Korth

So a couple of weeks ago, when my houseguest, Jason Anderson helped me to clean out (some) of my storage unit and saw my piano music “albatross,” he suggested that I contact the University of Hawaii Music Department. I emailed this message to Jonathan Korth, Associate Professor of Piano:

My husband, Carl Crosier, died last year and you may not have known that he majored in piano performance at the University of Washington. I am left with about three drawers worth of piano music — there is one drawer alone that has only piano concertos. The music is used, obviously, but perhaps some of your piano students might need some free music? Many are European editions. 

And I was absolutely thrilled when he wrote back: We would be happy to have the scores for either our library or student collection. Thank you very much for the offer! Knowing a little bit about Carl’s tastes and attention to detail in music, I’m sure he has excellent editions.

I thought I should compile a list of all the music for tax purposes (of course!) and when I finished with it, I was just in awe. Carl brought all this piano music with him when he moved to Hawaii in 1972, and it just sat in storage all these years. Although he resurrected his piano playing when he gave concerts with violinist Yuko Honda in 2006 (see my post about their 40 year reunion recitals), he virtually up and left that part of his life behind him as he turned his focus to church music, conducting, and becoming a countertenor soloist when he moved to Hawaii. In case you want to be totally awed by his collection, click here to be absolutely blown away! Carl’s Piano Music. Some of it he had owned since he was a child, since his name and address (Perry Avenue, Bremerton, WA) was written on the front.

I know that after he retired, he was looking forward to practicing the piano again, but it unfortunately never happened. Jonathan Korth is coming this weekend to pick up the piano music, so I’m so happy that it all will be going to a good home.

So yesterday, one of the Hawaii Chapter American Guild of Organists members, Bob Alder, sent me this message: Just spotted this on Craigslist. Might be of interest to the AGO members. I turned right around and forwarded his message to the chapter.

Organ music available on Craigslist (Hawaii Kai)

Organ music available on Craigslist (Hawaii Kai)

Guess who emailed me this morning! Joey Fala wrote: “That’s my music!”

I answered, “Your mom listed it on Craigslist!! Do you need it back?” and Joey responded, “No. Don’t need. Just funny that the ad came full circle. I’m trying to get rid of my extra music…”

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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2 Responses to Sheet music albatross

  1. Bonnie Smith says:

    I’m facing the same difficulty with volumes of voice scores for recital,opera and choral scores as well. Since my throat surgery and subsequent massive decrease in my range I don’t enjoy teaching voice much, so these scores are gathering dust. I’d like to donate them to California Lutheran University but the shipping cost is high and I keep putting it off. Carl would love your decisions on behalf of his music. Bonnie

  2. Donald Graber says:

    Kathy: Prior to my move to Bangkok, Thailand from Honolulu, I had a huge collection of classical CD’s, the music of which I had transferred to my iPod and computer. What to do with the collection? I asked Jonathan Korth if the University of Hawaii would be interested. He was very interested and took the entire collection!

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