Today is September 11th, and people all over the world are remembering the horrific events of fourteen years ago on September 11, 2001: the hijacked planes crashing into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the plane that was downed in Shanksville, PA. When I looked up September 11th memorials, I was surprised to learn that there is a permanent memorial in Honolulu, located at Honolulu Hale, the city hall. The reason I’m surprised is that I walk by it every day as part of my daily walking routine — and I’ve never particularly noticed it, shame on me!
See the Twin Towers etched in the marble above?
But for the Crosier family, September 11th has another significance. Today would have been Carl Crosier’s 70th birthday, and you know for years and years he told me, “I’m never going to make it to my 70th birthday!” Well, sadly, he was right.
It was the year after the tragedies, September 11th, 2002, that everywhere people were singing Requiems, and Carl told people, “If this is the way it’s going to be every year, I’m changing my birthday!” It was so ironic, then, that the following year, 2002, was the year Carl had to renew his passport, and when the new one appeared in our mailbox, to our surprise, it had the wrong date on it — September 18 instead of September 11. Carl was tempted to keep it, but in the end, the State Department sent him a new passport with the correct date.
Years before, on September 11th, 1992, Hurricane Iniki hit Hawaii, the most powerful storm to hit the islands. Even then Carl commented, “Everything bad happens on my birthday!”
Here is a video of Leonard Slatkin conducting Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” on the last night of the Proms in London, shortly after 9/11/2001, as a tribute to all those who died across the pond in the United States. It was one of Carl’s and my favorite pieces, and I offer it to you as a remembrance of things past, including Carl’s birthday.
One of the comments on the video read: Powerfully poignant and desperately tragic. A sublimation of supreme sadness into infinite yearning, as these delicate yet definite orchestrations smoothly segue through misty melancholias, gently offering a catharsis for the profusion of human waste and folly that shadows civilised life. An impressionistic lament to all that could have been but never was, a wistfully lugubrious valediction to fleeting innocence, our composer bears his broken heart and sorry soul with painful dignity and pensive pride. This music offers hope through sympathy, peace through forgiveness, and love through understanding. A masterpiece instantly modern and timelessly classic, a mighty moving monument to the enduring pathos of the universe, a perfectly balanced study in legato phrasing, we grow wiser and stronger through imbuing this spontaneous expression of despair tempered by formal refinement, poise and equilibrium. (Jathon Delsey)