<< -- 3 -- Tess Crebbin IRREPLACEABLE TO MUSIC
The memorial service was organised at the initiative of the Rundfunkorchestra, in conjunction with the archbishop, and so some of the speeches also referred to the deep bonding that existed between this particular orchestra and its conductor. 'I think from their touching performance today it is evident how much Viotti cared for his orchestra and how much they cared for him,' one of those present said. 'He is irreplaceable to music,' Sir Peter Jonas added, 'and also as a person. We are sure going to miss his Ferrari outside the local pub.'
The Minister for Education, Miss Monika Hohlmeier who is the daughter of the well-known Bavarian politician Franz Joseph Strauss, remembered her own encounters with Viotti. 'As Minister for Education,' she recalled, 'I came up with the idea of bringing musical education into the schools via a first-hand approach and I was looking for a well-known musical personality to support me in this. The work that Viotti did with our young people was invaluable and I always recall our first contact. I approached him with the idea and thought that it is nearly impossible that someone of his standing would want to use his time to instruct young people. But he was very down-to-earth, completely free of arrogance and star-behaviour, so he just said: fine, what exactly do you want me to do and when do we start?'
Everyone present agreed that the huge turnout at the memorial service was yet another testimonial to how much Marcello Viotti had meant to the people in the city of Munich. In fact, many had not been able to get access to due to the restricted space inside the church and stood freezing outside in the cold through the service as their final way to honor the conductor. Inside the church, people stood in the corridors, lining the walls, and still the space in St Michael's Church, one of the largest in Munich, was not enough to accommodate everyone who had come to bid farewell to one of the city's most loved musical personalities.
Marcello Viotti. Photo © Johannes Ifkovits
Meanwhile, condolences still keep pouring in on Viotti's official website, www.marcello-viotti.com, where the guest-book has become an online condolence book for friends, colleagues and admirers to express their sympathy to the conductor's family. Among them are the well-known soprano Diana Damrau, tenor Rolando Villazon, and representatives from almost all the top opera houses from around the world. Perhaps the real tragedy of Viotti, aside from his early untimely death, is that despite his enormous achievements in the field of classical music not only in Europe but on both sides of the Atlantic, his modest and unassuming manner often led to these achievements being under-appreciated during his lifetime and it is only now, in the aftermath of his departure, that music begins to understand what it has lost in him.