Glorified and sanctified is God’s great name throughout the world, which He has created according to His will.
May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime
and during your days,
and within the life of the entire House of Israel,
speedily and soon;
and say, Amen.
May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.
Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted,
extolled and honored,
adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He,
beyond all the blessings and hymns,
praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world;
and say, Amen.
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.
With this traditional Hebrew prayer, I say goodbye to my mentor and friend. The last time I saw David was at the memorial service for my father who died last January. David played the Kaddish he composed for his father’s death for piano and violin. Moved by the direct emotional beauty of David’s music, my family was grateful.
David was a commercial composer by profession. This was ironic because David always said that his music carried sadness and melancholy, not exactly the right emotion to sell products with. However, this acute sense of the human heart that David had, which longed for beauty with a seemingly infinite melody and harmony outpouring from him, was keen to bring the exacting emotion to every circumstance we simple humans find ourselves in, from buying cars to brushing our teeth to flying to exotic places to doing business to drinking beer and soda and, and, and…Nothing was so banal and trivial that David could not write something moving for it, and apply his humanity and genius.
David listened and listened and listened to music. It seemed to me he knew every piece of music, classical, jazz, pop, folk… In his house in Connecticut, he had a listening room, an inner sanctum where he would sit for hours just listening.
I spent many hours with him as an apprentice. The typical day would consist of three recording sessions of music from every style, with the best musicians of New York. Then meals all together with whatever musicians were around. Then, at night, I would go to his house where I might eat dinner with his wife Jan and their small children Mara and Jesse, and then listen to more music!
David rejoiced in sharing his life and passion as a friend to so many. He would pour out his generous spirit and heart to all he loved. At one point I was so excited at meeting my new friends of CL in New York, who seemed to share this love of beauty, that I introduced David. He took to my friends immediately and to reading Fr. Giussani as if a natural friend. There were many concerts in Rimini, many amazing dinners together with wine flowing and laughter and affection.
Jan and he once gave their beautiful country house in Connecticut for a study weekend for our small group of college students (CLU). Who of successful powerful, cultural people would be so generous to a group of kids he hardly new? But he got to know all and became a very important part of so many of our lives.
He opened the studio at DHMA so that the Bay Ridge Band could record with such a high level of production. And his deep friendship with Claudio Chieffo produced the beautiful CD, Come la Rosa. David and Jan wept with all of Claudio’s friends at his bedside when he passed away.
In his silent, soulful way, he was friends and mentor to many of us, and to the community of musicians here in New York. You should see the outpouring of messages of comfort to Jan, Mara and Jesse.
I remember David patiently and sometimes not, trying to correct me as a composer. He thought I never committed to my ideas and listened too little to the inner voice of creativity. I was the opposite of David, so instinctive and reactive, yet, he employed me for over 25 years and kept me on when I was not working well. He could have fired me, and maybe came close, but in the end he always had faith in me and could motivate me to dig in again and improve. He did not even have to speak. I just knew it with his presence. I suppose, in the end, I responded because he motivated the deepest part of me, the part that loved excellence and the highest demands of our craft.
David spoke of the Religious Sense in his talk at the UN in 1997. He quoted, “The greater the art (let us think of music), the more it flings wide open, does not confine desire. It is a sign of something else.” David adds, “This “other” is exactly what I want to express, recognize, and search for in every aspect of my life…It is the path of discovery.” I recognized this in David the very first time I looked into those eyes looking at me, while at the same time looking to a far off beautiful horizon.
“May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for all eternity” for my dear friend and mentor, as he finds the Beauty he searched for with every note and chord he penned.