It’s been a horrid month for death already, and last night Caroline came in with an old copy of the Independent carrying a death notice I’d entirely missed when it appeared on the 17th. Eve Keatley was Bob Runcie’s press secretary for years: a very sharp, funny, and indomitable woman, married to a Canadian journalist called Patrick. But it was worse than her. It was their daughter, Vicky, aged only thirty. The notice just said she had died suddenly while visiting friends in Toronto. I suppose I’ll find more if Eve replies to the letter I must write this morning.
Then today’s Telegraph carried an obit for Luciano Berio, which tied up a huge number of threads. I knew of him, in a rather barbarian way, because Phil Lesh had studied composition with him in the early Sixties. But Berio turns out to have been married in ways that were interesting even by the standards of Italian musicians.
There’s a line in Your Gold Teeth which has puzzled me for years: “Even Cathy Berberian knows there’s one roulade she can’t sing”. Who was this person? Had I heard right? Was it Cathy Barbarian? Cathy Bavarian? It turns out she was a singer, and Berio’s first wife and muse.
He left her for a psychology student named Susan Oyama, and, unless I’m crazy, this is the Susan Oyama whose works on ontogeny and development reproach me from the bedside bookcase every morning, and who is now profesor of psychology at CUNY.
The third wife was an Israeli musicologist named Talia Pecker. No doubt some reader of this will know her more obscure connections.
For some reason, the thought of this life running like a ribbon to thread together so many disparate interests of mine gave me great pleasure.