I just heard from Ates Tanin’s son, and his father passed away this morning. I was prepared for this but I’m nonetheless a bit taken. I’ve known Ates since I was 17 and I’ve had no finer ally in the music world. He was always objective and to the point in conversation, but once you began to know him a colourful and warm hearted man often shone through his letters. We also shared many personality traits which were brought out in full colour in Tunc’s letter, such as that he was fond of giving his chem students at the University of Toronto a multiple answers exam where the correct alternative was always C, up until the last five questions where the answer was random. I also learned that the day Canada stopped importing his favourite brand of cigarettes was the day when Ates quit smoking. That doesn’t sound a lot like me, but it certainly does sound a lot like Ates.
I just thought I’d alert since I know several people here has been in touch with him, and even more would know who he is. The piano world is fun since it brings together people of all kinds of ages, nationalities and backgrounds, but I have to say this part of it sucks. This is the second death news of an esteemed friend I’m brought only this year, and it’s progressed at about this rate ever since 2011. I’ll remember Ates tonight, and will pull out some recordings he sent over the years.
Yes, he messed it up a bit towards the end actually (I never dared to tell him) but he was a tremendous source of knowledge and information - not only on Richter - and one of the few who shared my obsession with accuracy and detail.
I’m glad you have a positive memory of him since I know several people have been (at least initially) brushed off more easily by him if they wanted to trade - and Ates’ short writing style might not always have been to his benefit in this regard either. I say now as I’ve said then that it more than likely wasn’t about him being snarky or enclosed, but simply about time, energy and the volume of correspondence. My impression is that things have cooled down quite a bit here during the 10s, but in the 00s when the internet was still young and we both kept websites dedicated to famous pianists the correspondence volume was tremendous - as in 20 or 30 letters you had to write every day if you wanted to keep up (and each one you write swiftly tends to generate a new one). If you don’t un-learn some of the basic rules of courtesy of replying and engaging you’ll soon learn how it’s like to be homeless since you wouldn’t have energy left for either work, friends or other domestic chores. If he felt he had a slot however my experience is that Ates wasn’t any less accommodating than anyone else, the contrary if anything, which he certainly proved that morning in 1999 when some kid from Sweden wrote and asked if he could send all his Richter recordings.
Very sad. I didn’t know Ates as well as CJ and perhaps others here, but I got to know him a bit and he was always very kind and generous to me. Back when I was a poor student (as opposed to being a poor academic now) and first started collecting he sent me stuff gratis and never asked for anything in return. I probably wouldn’t be half the collector I am today were it not for souls like Ates.
same here. I asked for some random things from his Gilels, Richter and Gieseking lists over the years - and he always sent out a CD-R right away, all da way from Canada and paid for the airmail postage too.
Haha no of course not. I was even more proper at that age than I am now and would have been very concerned with being able to reciprocate, or even to bother people like Ates. But we did maintain regular trades virtually from day 1 over the next 5-6 years or so.
I’ve gotten as far as to determine that my first parcel from Ates arrived on Thursday afternoon the 25th of March 1999, but I’ve yet to figure out what was in it. I think it was the 1965-12-24 Moscow recital and the Tours rehearsal from 1991-06-21. My ID numbers line up, and I still remember fetching the parcel with the Tours rehearsal from the mailbox and the excitement of getting to hear Richter practise (but alas…).
A very well known Richter collector. Many people were at work on it, but he was one who was instrumental in bringing order to Richter’s enormous and hugely confusing legacy as it looked in the 90s. He built this: Recorded Richter. And this: Recorded Gilels.
Yes, he had struggled with both heart disease and cancer for around a decade. I haven’t talked to him for almost two years now, and last time I auto-passed him one of my own recordings he never downloaded it - which prepared me for that this day probably wasn’t far off.
I never had any issues with Ates of any kind myself, but Pete T was a bit crossed with him for a while as well because of the recordings Ates published on Doremi, and I’m not sure he and Falk S ever became friends again after RR went online. But personally… he was always cordial in correspondence, always sent what he said he’d send, always asked for permission if he wanted to publish something, and when he had finished lists of more modern pianists he even went to great trouble to remove every audience recording from them before publishing when I expressed concern over getting my own recs listed (and only my own). That must have taken months, and it cancelled work which could very well have taken years.
I thought about it, but it looks like that’s private. Tunc said a donation to a suitable organisation is welcome, or to “simply read a book” (I’m not sure what he meant but Ates’ second love was philosophy, and I know he was something of an authority on Tolstoy).
I don’t know if Ates had ever heard of them though. Ates was a scientist first, my pick would rather be cancer research. There is a treatment in development I’m very excited about (not that I need it - yet), if there’s a way to donate to work that goes in to that I might really do it.