"Memento mori: An AIDS Requiem"
(with lyrics by Quentin Crisp)
What Quentin Crisp meant to me: "Music is a Mistake"
Courtfield Gardens, London: reception after my Wigmore Hall recital debut; I first met Mr. Crisp, guest of Mr. Rolland Brown and Mr. Jean dePaul. Mr. Crisp announced that "music is a mistake" . . . did he really mean that?
Sazerac House, New York: lunch with Mr. Crisp and my mother. He handed me his poem Now I Am Dead, excited for me to set this to music for Miss Rita Hunter.
Sazerac House: dinner with Mr. Crisp and my mother. He handed me his poem The Wounded to set.
Dinner in Brooklyn: Mr. Crisp and friends listened to a demo-recording of my setting of his poems. He remarked "this was splendid."
Atlanta Gay Mens Chorus: premiered "Memento mori: An AIDS Requiem." Now I Am Dead and The Wounded were wonderfully received!
I sent Mr. Crisp a modest royalty check from our publisher; he sent this reply:
". . . Thank you for your kind cheque. I always thought you were a genius.
Now I know. If you can sell verse, your status is assured . . ."
Copyright © 2000 by James Adler and Estate of Quentin Crisp. All rights reserved.
Photograph copyright © by Dick Scott-Stewart. All rights reserved. Used by permission