Saturday, 23 February 2013

Edward (Teddy) Bor 1921-2013

My father's funeral was held on the 18th January 2013. This is my eulogy from the service. 

My father was a man who lived and breathed music. He thought music, often giving the impression of being vague to the outside world.

Although music was at the heart of family life in the Bor household, popular music was frowned upon. Dad did buy us a copy of “She Loves You”, as Andrew (my brother) and I were Beatle mad, but soon even the fab four were not to be encouraged. Dad recorded with The Bath Festival Orchestra at Abbey Road and was horrified to find that the group of screaming girls outside were waiting for Paul and John rather than Yuhudi Menuhin. The world had gone mad as far as he was concerned.

Music was a serious business to Dad, but he had a comic alter-ego, Professor Teddy Bor. Based on violinist Max Rostal, who taught both my parents, Dad would put on a thick European accent and play on his “exploding” violin, an old saleroom bargain he had unglued and reassembled with pins. One tug and the whole thing fell to bits in front of his audience. Two of his jokey compositions were published, and these are played all over the world. Violinist Gidon Kremer included them on several CD and DVD releases and sent these words of condolence on hearing the news of Dad’s passing.

“It was a real privilege for many years to feel connected to Teddy Bor via many music pieces I had performed myself and as well with my orchestra. All of us, along with our audiences around the globe, have enjoyed his masterfully written witty scores. So many times they served us as brilliant encores on tours and I am sure these beautiful compositions will accompany us further.”

Dad’s courage, during his final decade of ill health, was inspirational. He continued teaching violin until his late eighties and edited the book that celebrated the centenary of his older sister Hilda Bor.

A video by Teddy's grandson, Fred Burns, to promote his book.


Anonymous said...

Hi Simon,

Sorry to hear about your dad. I was looking for more of his compositions on the internet. I played 'Bach at the double' when I was younger and now I want to use your dad's music for my students.

Martje Hermans
double bass

Anonymous said...

Hello Simon,

Very sad to hear about your father's death.

He generously taught me for a couple of years, goodness me, about 20 years ago. Maybe a bit more. I say 'generously' because he must have known my talent wouldn't get me very far. However, he raved about my trilling and called people into the room to hear it.

I lovely, gentle and fascinating man.

Kind regards,

Tom Ragan

Daniel said...

I'm afraid I had not heard of Teddy Bor until yesterday, when the Kildale Quartet played an arrangement of his McMozart Night music.
A very witty and engaging piece - so glad to have heard it. We all left the concert smiling.
Daniel O'Hara

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