Death of a Former CMG Member

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Ralph » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:05 pm

I regret to report the death of Mel Merkel on 16 July in Las Vegas. Below is an email I just received from a close friend of Mel's:

Hi Ralph,

I just wanted to tell you that Mel Merkel passed away July 16, 2009 while he was watching TV and holding the remote in his hands.

Since we last communicated when he had his foot amputated, I am happy to say he had no more serious illnesses.

He went to a cardiologist at UCLA hospital who was head of the heart department for his checkups. That doctor made life better for Mel and understood just how to treat him. They told each other jokes and communicated by email. Whatever that doctor said was the law for Mel and he could always bring Mel out of one of his blue funks. God bless him!
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Heck148
Posts: 3562
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Heck148 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:18 pm

Ralph wrote:I regret to report the death of Mel Merkel on 16 July in Las Vegas. Below is an email I just received from a close friend of Mel's:

Hi Ralph,

I just wanted to tell you that Mel Merkel passed away July 16, 2009 while he was watching TV and holding the remote in his hands.

Since we last communicated when he had his foot amputated, I am happy to say he had no more serious illnesses.....
:( :( :(
Thanks for this note, Ralph -

I'm so sorry to hear this, I've been wondering what happened to Mel - we shared alot of e-mails, then I lost track of him....

I really liked Mel, and even tho he could be a cranky and cantankerous :) , he was really a very nice person, a good soul and a good cyber-friend... we shared some good laughs via e-mail.

nut-job
Posts: 1717
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:06 pm

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by nut-job » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:25 pm

Very sorry to hear of Mel's passing. An example of a person whose web persona was in contrast the the real nature of the man.

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 18294
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Lance » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:49 pm

Very sad news. I hope CMG brought him some joy over the years. He obviously made some good friends on the site. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Ralph.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Jared
CMG's Chief Resident Newbie
Posts: 3157
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:50 pm
Location: Hereford Cathedral

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Jared » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:24 am

nut-job wrote:Very sorry to hear of Mel's passing. An example of a person whose web persona was in contrast the the real nature of the man.
it's always very sad to lose a forum member in this way.. :(

anyway, that's an enigmatic tribute, if ever I've read one, n-j.. :wink:

what was Mel's forum name? if you've met him on CMG, then I must have done, being as we joined at about the same time?

nut-job
Posts: 1717
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:06 pm

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by nut-job » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:04 am

Jared wrote:
nut-job wrote:Very sorry to hear of Mel's passing. An example of a person whose web persona was in contrast the the real nature of the man.
it's always very sad to lose a forum member in this way.. :(

anyway, that's an enigmatic tribute, if ever I've read one, n-j.. :wink:

what was Mel's forum name? if you've met him on CMG, then I must have done, being as we joined at about the same time?
He was an irascible web presence. I go back many years on this site, though intermittently and not always under the same name.

Brendan

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Brendan » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:05 am

Very sad news indeed. I first "met" Mel as part of the CI crew from long ago. We'll miss him.

Fergus
Posts: 4197
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:06 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Fergus » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:40 am

I did not know Mel but sad news like this is always regrettable. The traditional blessing in Ireland when hearing of a death is "Ar dheis Déi go raibh a anam" which, translated literally, means "May his soul sit at the right hand of God".

Seán
Posts: 5339
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Seán » Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:34 am

This is sad news, may he rest in peace.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

Holden Fourth
Posts: 1450
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:47 am

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Holden Fourth » Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:03 am

This is incredibly sad news for me and I feel quite 'gutted' about it. I've been with Mel on a number of forums over the years and while his curmudgeonly and uncompromising approach upset many people, it was a mark of his honesty of character and his intentions to stick with his beliefs. After the amputation he started to mellow out a bit but was still prepared to stick to his guns.

I shared a number of e-mails and PMs with Mel where he gave me great advice that was also an indication of his generosity of spirit. This was a man who heard Toscanini conduct live and could also add many other of the great luminaries of classical music to his pantheon of the live performances he attended.

One of the works we discussed at length was the Verdi Requiem and in particular the HvK/La Scala Milan film by Henri Cloussot which he considered one of the best ever performances of this great piece of choral music. I've since slipped this into my PC/DVD and it is playing as I type and when my tears start to flow at the 'Recordare' I am certain that Mel's good works will have been entered into the account book of whatever spiritual resting place he believed in and currently resides.

Mel, it was great to know you and if this serves in any way as a eulogy it is the least you are due. I was in a small country town with 100 11 year olds when you passed on. The name of the town was Longreach. You reached out over the internet to me. Rest happily my friend.

springrite
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 6:53 pm

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by springrite » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:10 am

We have been friends for more than ten years and shared many wonderful moments together, in person as well as in cyberspace. I am proud to have been his friend. I will miss him.

Paul
Music starts where words fail.

stenka razin
CMG's Chief Decorator
Posts: 4005
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:59 am
Location: In The Steppes Of Central Asia

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by stenka razin » Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:58 am

What very sad news. I did not know Mel, but, he seemed like a nice person and shall be missed. :(
Image

MaestroDJS
Posts: 1713
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 1:15 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States, North America, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by MaestroDJS » Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:20 am

Holden Fourth wrote:This is incredibly sad news for me and I feel quite 'gutted' about it. I've been with Mel on a number of forums over the years and while his curmudgeonly and uncompromising approach upset many people, it was a mark of his honesty of character and his intentions to stick with his beliefs. After the amputation he started to mellow out a bit but was still prepared to stick to his guns.
If Mel is who I think he is, I remember him only by his offensive posts and his frequently obscene PMs to me. One in particularly told me I wasn't "fit to @#$% the @#$% off someone's @#$%". Naturally the best response was to pay no attention to him whatsoever, which apparently drove him escalate his attacks until shortly before he was banned for various reasons. Much as I would have loved to learn from some of his alleged vast knowledge, his online persona was counterproductive. There comes a point when anything, no matter how good, simply isn't worth the bother.

Oh well, can't complain. Mel might have prompted me to turn my attention to some of the many obscure but user-friendly digitized archives and libraries which I regularly scour around the world, none of which have yet heaped abuse upon me and my ancestors. So maybe he was a caustic catalyst to my continued enrollment in the College of Musical Knowledge, but I doubt it. :)
David Stybr, Personal Assistant and Der Webmeister to Denise Swanson, New York Times Best-Selling Author
http://www.DeniseSwanson.com
~ Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries ~ Book 2: Nickeled-and-Dimed to Death, March 2013
~ Scumble River Mysteries ~ Book 15: Murder of the Cat's Meow, October 2012
Penguin ~ Obsidian ~ Signet, New York, New York

Febnyc
Posts: 1897
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 1:31 pm
Location: Stamford CT

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Febnyc » Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:44 am

MaestroDJS wrote:
Holden Fourth wrote:This is incredibly sad news for me and I feel quite 'gutted' about it. I've been with Mel on a number of forums over the years and while his curmudgeonly and uncompromising approach upset many people, it was a mark of his honesty of character and his intentions to stick with his beliefs. After the amputation he started to mellow out a bit but was still prepared to stick to his guns.
If Mel is who I think he is, I remember him only by his offensive posts and his frequently obscene PMs to me. One in particularly told me I wasn't "fit to @#$% the @#$% off someone's @#$%". Naturally the best response was to pay no attention to him whatsoever, which apparently drove him escalate his attacks until shortly before he was banned for various reasons. Much as I would have loved to learn from some of his alleged vast knowledge, his online persona was counterproductive. There comes a point when anything, no matter how good, simply isn't worth the bother.

Oh well, can't complain. Mel might have prompted me to turn my attention to some of the many obscure but user-friendly digitized archives and libraries which I regularly scour around the world, none of which have yet heaped abuse upon me and my ancestors. So maybe he was a caustic catalyst to my continued enrollment in the College of Musical Knowledge, but I doubt it. :)
DJS - you remember quite correctly. And I doubt Mel was any kind of a catalyst for anything positive. I had been exposed to this gutter-mouthed person for years, back all the way to the existence of the original site from which many of the present CMGers first emerged.

I guess we all ascribe to the tenet: De mortuis nil nisi bonum - but nevertheless I find myself unable to garner lots of sympathy for Mel Merkel in his unfortunate passing. I, too, received, for reasons unknown to me, more than one such personal message; obscene, scatological and vicious toward me and my family (none of whom Mel had neither met nor knew one iota about). And, my decision, too, was to ignore him, which only, in additional PMs, increased his invective and deepened his use of foul language - he possessed a vast knowledge of that. In sum, I found his so-called "web persona" boorish and disgusting, embarrassing and inflammatory, immature and confrontational - tossing venomous messages towards anyone he chose to attack, the diatribes of a bitter and lonely man. He, as far as I am concerned, added nothing to my knowledge of music and never had anything positive to contribute to any "discussion" into which he thrust his obnoxious self.

I'll believe those here, whose personalities seem mature, and who claim the "real" Mel to have been a more acceptable human being. I sincerely hope this was true and that that cyber-aspect of Mel Merkel which was so overheated and nasty, often for the sake of nastiness itself, in the end was not that by which he was judged as he left this mortal coil.

Auntie Lynn
Posts: 1123
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 10:42 pm

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Auntie Lynn » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:12 am

Wasn't he the Word Maestro (??) and Robin of Locksly...??

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:18 am

Febnyc wrote:
MaestroDJS wrote:
Holden Fourth wrote:This is incredibly sad news for me and I feel quite 'gutted' about it. I've been with Mel on a number of forums over the years and while his curmudgeonly and uncompromising approach upset many people, it was a mark of his honesty of character and his intentions to stick with his beliefs. After the amputation he started to mellow out a bit but was still prepared to stick to his guns.
If Mel is who I think he is, I remember him only by his offensive posts and his frequently obscene PMs to me. One in particularly told me I wasn't "fit to @#$% the @#$% off someone's @#$%". Naturally the best response was to pay no attention to him whatsoever, which apparently drove him escalate his attacks until shortly before he was banned for various reasons. Much as I would have loved to learn from some of his alleged vast knowledge, his online persona was counterproductive. There comes a point when anything, no matter how good, simply isn't worth the bother.

Oh well, can't complain. Mel might have prompted me to turn my attention to some of the many obscure but user-friendly digitized archives and libraries which I regularly scour around the world, none of which have yet heaped abuse upon me and my ancestors. So maybe he was a caustic catalyst to my continued enrollment in the College of Musical Knowledge, but I doubt it. :)
DJS - you remember quite correctly. And I doubt Mel was any kind of a catalyst for anything positive. I had been exposed to this gutter-mouthed person for years, back all the way to the existence of the original site from which many of the present CMGers first emerged.

I guess we all ascribe to the tenet: De mortuis nil nisi bonum - but nevertheless I find myself unable to garner lots of sympathy for Mel Merkel in his unfortunate passing. I, too, received, for reasons unknown to me, more than one such personal message; obscene, scatological and vicious toward me and my family (none of whom Mel had neither met nor knew one iota about). And, my decision, too, was to ignore him, which only, in additional PMs, increased his invective and deepened his use of foul language - he possessed a vast knowledge of that. In sum, I found his so-called "web persona" boorish and disgusting, embarrassing and inflammatory, immature and confrontational - tossing venomous messages towards anyone he chose to attack, the diatribes of a bitter and lonely man. He, as far as I am concerned, added nothing to my knowledge of music and never had anything positive to contribute to any "discussion" into which he thrust his obnoxious self.

I'll believe those here, whose personalities seem mature, and who claim the "real" Mel to have been a more acceptable human being. I sincerely hope this was true and that that cyber-aspect of Mel Merkel which was so overheated and nasty, often for the sake of nastiness itself, in the end was not that by which he was judged as he left this mortal coil.
Well, since we're all coming out of the closet here, yes, a vile, vicious online presence who self-admittedly enjoyed that aspect of posting. Enduring tolerance for him and a few Mel wannabes was the reason I stopped posting on the GMG. (My last post, which I'm sure was deleted because I pulled no punches, was to warn him away from a noobie he had in his sights.) Dave says he was vulgar in PMs. With me he didn't bother; he just called me those kinds of names in public posts.

The reason we are getting Jekyll/Hyde reports of him is that he played a game of identifying who he wanted to go after and who would be in the inner circle of the blessed. Once he put you in the former category, he never let go. He actually re-joined here after being banned, surreptitiously and briefly, for the express purpose of looking for his opportunity to come after, specifically, me (Corlyss caught him).

If you want de mortuis to kick in when you're gone, you'd better be plenty bonum while you're still around.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Barry
Posts: 10230
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:50 pm

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Barry » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:26 pm

I've got mixed feelings. I met Mel in person a couple times. We were on good terms for a few years, then for some reason (I think it may have been because I didn't join his side over a dispute over someone else being kicked off the board), I suddenly was released from the circle of people he liked and was informed via email that I was persona non grata; only in much less flattering language.

I decided to just let it go and ignore him. We never exchanged posts or emails again after that.

I'm sorry he died alone and am glad to read that his final days weren't all bad.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Brendan

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Brendan » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:38 am

I had a couple of similar "bad" experiences with Mel. I replied in like kind, added a few words he didn't know, and it seemed to settle after that. Yes, he was all the things that others have said, but I liked the ornery old sod anyway. Working on my grumpy, bitter old man persona myself, perhaps I could always work out where he was coming from. :wink:

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:07 am

Lance wrote:Very sad news. I hope CMG brought him some joy over the years. He obviously made some good friends on the site. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Ralph.
I too am saddened at his death because I know he had a hard go of it. He lost one leg to diabetes and it did seem that the online communities were his chief means of associating with folks. I know Lance and I tried to work with him, as did Ralph, a true friend to Mel, to try to get him to restrain his more unpleasant nature because we knew how much it meant to him to be here. Unfortunately he would not be deterred, and when he started going after harmless and valued members like John and Dave and Frank, to the extent that Lance and I spent hours on the phone trying to mollify his victims, we had no choice to but to kick him out and keep him out. Nevertheless, his death is regrettable. He makes, what?, number 4 or 5 of our members to pass away.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Ralph » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:24 pm

As one who probably knew Mel best I know that the comments above, positive and negative, reveal different sides of the man. I never understood why Mel, without question a very, very smart man, could not restrain his behavior both online and in contacts with members who disagreed with him or who simply became his targets. I never justified his behavior and his banning was, I believe, reasonable.

But he also was a person who called me up after my near death heart attack and followed up occasionally, always exhorting me to do whatever would keep me well. He was a very lonely man who saw his close friends predecease him. His jaunts to L.A. for concerts brought him real pleasure. His dying watching TV with the remote in his hand probably says it all - that was his life.

I recall (and maybe one or two old timers do too) that in the CI days when anyone could post without registering (that didn't last long), an anti-Mel diatribe appeared one day by a writer who claimed that Mel was his high school teacher. Myriad cruelties were attributed by this person to Mel. Mel responded by saying that no student of his wrote so poorly but many of us thought the posting was genuine if unverifiable as to anything that transpired.

So there were really two Mels as there are multiple sides to the personalities of many of us here. In his case the extreme outweighed for many the music loving, knowledgeable persona that was so much of his life. Very sad.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Trilogy
Posts: 238
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Villanova Junction

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Trilogy » Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:19 pm

:(

R.I.P.

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and
combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and
especially in the art of words. If music has one advantage
over the other media through which a person can represent
the impressions of the soul, it owes this to its supreme
capacity to make each inner impulse audible without the
assistance of reason...Music presents at once the intensity
and the expression of feeling. It is the embodied and
intelligible essence of feeling, capable of being apprehended
by our senses. It permeates them like a dart, like a ray, like
a mist, like a spirit, and fills our soul."


- Franz Joseph Liszt

Holden Fourth
Posts: 1450
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:47 am

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Holden Fourth » Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:13 am

Ralph wrote:As one who probably knew Mel best I know that the comments above, positive and negative, reveal different sides of the man. I never understood why Mel, without question a very, very smart man, could not restrain his behavior both online and in contacts with members who disagreed with him or who simply became his targets. I never justified his behavior and his banning was, I believe, reasonable.

But he also was a person who called me up after my near death heart attack and followed up occasionally, always exhorting me to do whatever would keep me well. He was a very lonely man who saw his close friends predecease him. His jaunts to L.A. for concerts brought him real pleasure. His dying watching TV with the remote in his hand probably says it all - that was his life.

I recall (and maybe one or two old timers do too) that in the CI days when anyone could post without registering (that didn't last long), an anti-Mel diatribe appeared one day by a writer who claimed that Mel was his high school teacher. Myriad cruelties were attributed by this person to Mel. Mel responded by saying that no student of his wrote so poorly but many of us thought the posting was genuine if unverifiable as to anything that transpired.

So there were really two Mels as there are multiple sides to the personalities of many of us here. In his case the extreme outweighed for many the music loving, knowledgeable persona that was so much of his life. Very sad.
His ability to polarise opinion was part of his persona and he instinctively knew he could antagonise certain posters by his comments, watch them take the bait and then reel them in. This was a very unpleasant facet of his personality but he did know who he could bait and get a response from. I was initially attacked by Mel very early on but I decided that rather than go on the defensive I would ask Mel what he saw as the problem with my response - I was happy to listen/read what he thought and I did this via PM. The reply I got back absolutely stunned me. Here was this absolutely iconoclastic, ascerbic and hypercritical man apologising to me for his response and then explaining how he felt. It was the beginning of a good relationship.

Now to be blunt I'm not sure whether being one of Mel's students would have been a wonderful experience for those who were weak of faith or vision. Mel's headstone should read "Never suffer fools gladly" and he lived his life by that tenet I suspect. That it left him a lonely old man in his last years but he was still reaching out to the world. I don't know if he ever married, had children, etc but I suspect not. He chose the monastic role and I also imagine that many of his students would acknowledge his role in their education. On CI his handle was 'Word Maestro' and his posts were always eloquent though at times very dramatic. One thought that does worry me, how long was he dead before someone discovered his body. If he was in a nursing home then not long. My other thought is whether there was any memorial service for him.

Regardless of all else, Mel figured in my life and my life was enriched, however subtly, by him.

MaestroDJS
Posts: 1713
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 1:15 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States, North America, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by MaestroDJS » Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:22 am

Holden Fourth wrote:His ability to polarise opinion was part of his persona and he instinctively knew he could antagonise certain posters by his comments, watch them take the bait and then reel them in.
Happily I never ever took his bait. :)

On the other hand, I knew immediately how to bait HIM and reel him in. It was amazingly easy. All I had to do was completely ignore him. Mel would not be ignored, it drove him nuts and it served him right. On perhaps the only occasion I ever answered him, he sent me a PM "If you didn't have your @#$% up your @#$%, you'd know that..." to correct a fact in one of my posts. I politely thanked him for the correction and said I'd update it immediately. Boy, did he ever hate that! He KNEW I was intentionally ignoring him! :D

That was hilarious fun for about 5 minutes, and thinking back on it now makes me chuckle. But that's not really my style, so I never gave him another thought. :)
David Stybr, Personal Assistant and Der Webmeister to Denise Swanson, New York Times Best-Selling Author
http://www.DeniseSwanson.com
~ Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries ~ Book 2: Nickeled-and-Dimed to Death, March 2013
~ Scumble River Mysteries ~ Book 15: Murder of the Cat's Meow, October 2012
Penguin ~ Obsidian ~ Signet, New York, New York

karlhenning
Composer-in-Residence
Posts: 9805
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:12 am
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by karlhenning » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:22 am

R.I.P. Cuddles

May the Angels sing Schnittke to you through Eternity

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

Harold Tucker
Posts: 510
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 4:36 pm
Location: Ludlow, Kentucky

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Harold Tucker » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:53 am

There are a lot of words that could be used to describe Mel, but "nice" is not one of them. Being referred to in that manner might be enough to bring him back for one more foul-mouthed rebuttal. The poor man suffered greatly and I felt for him, but his online persona was insufferable. I often wondered what he was like as a teacher.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:49 am

Harold Tucker wrote:There are a lot of words that could be used to describe Mel, but "nice" is not one of them. Being referred to in that manner might be enough to bring him back for one more foul-mouthed rebuttal. The poor man suffered greatly and I felt for him, but his online persona was insufferable. I often wondered what he was like as a teacher.
Well, he never missed an opportunity to tell me what I was doing wrong and how he did it differently in his teaching days.

And as for contacting Ralph when the latter had his heart attack, AFAIK he knew about that because I posted it on the GMG for anyone there who might know Ralph. While he was sympathizing over the phone with Ralph, he was raking me over the coals for the stupidity and naivety with which I had reported Ralph's condition.

He'd be happy, wouldn't he, to know that he made enough of an impression to produce a sizable thread on his passing.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Jared
CMG's Chief Resident Newbie
Posts: 3157
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:50 pm
Location: Hereford Cathedral

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Jared » Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:43 am

jbuck919 wrote:He'd be happy, wouldn't he, to know that he made enough of an impression to produce a sizable thread on his passing.
alas, it is a desperately sad thread, however... :(

I'd hate to be remembered in this way if I went tomorrow... really I would... :?

and what for? strongly held views on Classical Music?

whilst I'm certainly not wishing to judge the man, I would just like to underline the point that it only needs one or two strongly opinionated individuals to rock the boat, to make make a small site such as this considerably less pleasant for the rest of us to visit and chat amongst friends...

and I'm sure you'll all agree with me, that the atmosphere presently enjoyed on CMG really is a wholesome, positive and friendly one.. :D

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:27 am

Jared wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:He'd be happy, wouldn't he, to know that he made enough of an impression to produce a sizable thread on his passing.


I'd hate to be remembered in this way if I went tomorrow... really I would... :?
A. No chance, and B. Please don't pass tomorrow. :)
and I'm sure you'll all agree with me, that the atmosphere presently enjoyed on CMG really is a wholesome, positive and friendly one.. :D
Most heartily agree.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

AntonioA
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:07 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by AntonioA » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:57 pm

I remember Mel from the past too, perhaps also from the CI days. R.I.P.
AntonioA

Seán
Posts: 5339
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Seán » Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:49 pm

Jared wrote:....and I'm sure you'll all agree with me, that the atmosphere presently enjoyed on CMG really is a wholesome, positive and friendly one.. :D
Yes it is, and is due is no small part to Lance and to Corlyss for that too.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

Niki
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 8:28 pm

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Niki » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:57 pm

Very sad news.
I met Mel on LFLC about 13 years ago and later on on CI and all other buletin boards. I met him in person in SF maybe 10 years ago. He was a very bright person and I am sure his students will always be thankful to have him as teacher. Well....the smart ones, not the idiots... He didn't have much patience for stupidity and unfortunately he was pretty quick to pick up a fight whenever bumped into an opinion he disliked.
He was brutally honest and this doesn't seat well in a society guided first and foremost by political correctness. We had a very correct - even warm - relationship although he was a fanatic Wagnerian, and I a Mozart adict.
Years ago I tried to restrain him from vicious attacks on other members...

I will always remember him!

RIP dear friend.

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:56 am

Holden Fourth wrote: The reply I got back absolutely stunned me. Here was this absolutely iconoclastic, ascerbic and hypercritical man apologising to me for his response and then explaining how he felt. It was the beginning of a good relationship.
That's the way some people relate, i.e., test the other's mettle, take the measure of the other before aught else. One has to be prepared to look beyond the overtly rude. Often a bright caring individual is underneath once they find out you're worth caring about, but the care is not automatic, or a debt owed by casual civility. I'm glad to know that Mel was more than he appeared to be, and I'll remember him by the fond and gracious comments and memories of friends like you and Ralph and Nikki and Nigel, because I had no such experience with him myself.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Holden Fourth
Posts: 1450
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:47 am

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Holden Fourth » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:22 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
Holden Fourth wrote: The reply I got back absolutely stunned me. Here was this absolutely iconoclastic, ascerbic and hypercritical man apologising to me for his response and then explaining how he felt. It was the beginning of a good relationship.
That's the way some people relate, i.e., test the other's mettle, take the measure of the other before aught else. One has to be prepared to look beyond the overtly rude. Often a bright caring individual is underneath once they find out you're worth caring about, but the care is not automatic, or a debt owed by casual civility. I'm glad to know that Mel was more than he appeared to be, and I'll remember him by the fond and gracious comments and memories of friends like you and Ralph and Nikki and Nigel, because I had no such experience with him myself.
Corlyss, you and I had our differences of opinion online a few years ago but you never resorted to mindless invective and we eventually agreed to disagree on certain topics. Unfortunately, Mel found this hard to do and he made many enemies as a result. You and I are still talking to each other and probably always will and this is a measure of how both of us interact with our fellow human beings. My respect for you in this regard is without question.

While Mel probably vilified you in public on the forum because you didn't agree with his stance, your gracious and dignified reply to this thread displays the sense of humanity you possess.

Like Mel, I am an educator, live alone, (have no children?) but know that my life is still rich and fulfilled by the people I come in contact with.

As an aside, I suspect that Mel had a vast collection of recorded music. I wonder what happened to it? In an ideal world some new collector is browsing the classical shelves of some second hand record store when he comes across his first Toscanini Verdi Requiem CD and buys it. This is one legacy that Mel could have left behind.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:29 am

Holden Fourth wrote:
As an aside, I suspect that Mel had a vast collection of recorded music. I wonder what happened to it? In an ideal world some new collector is browsing the classical shelves of some second hand record store when he comes across his first Toscanini Verdi Requiem CD and buys it. This is one legacy that Mel could have left behind.
Yes, his collection was vast, something like 5000 CDs, though I think Chalkie and maybe some others here now exceed it. And he was proud of his state of the art equipment, all of which was stolen when his apartment was broken into. I imagine he was able to replace the equipment, but the break-in left him shattered and he sought solace from the proprietors at (I am not making this up) a local Las Vegas casino where he was a regular. They actually put him up for a week for free. There were many aspects to this complex personality, including how he dealt with his first amputation and how he managed after losing his shirt to compulsive gambling that are just too strange to be made up; also, they tended to humanize him which was normally not exactly his goal.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Fergus
Posts: 4197
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:06 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Fergus » Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:29 pm

This thread makes interesting reading for me.....as I said before, I did not know the man and reading the thread, a complicated and possibly tormented soul lurks therin....such is the human condition sometimes.

Richard Mullany
Posts: 203
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:12 pm
Location: Waynesville, NC

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Richard Mullany » Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:13 am

Here's another old timer who remembers Mel by the scars he left;The first post on the old site was trashed to a pile of letters.
I couldn't understand why he hated me so much but in a few days I saw him do the same thing to other members and decided it was just part of him acting out some past wrong. I talked to him after he got home from hospital.
He made a bad impression but I rather liked that irascible attitude of his.
I myself have been in the hospital three times, the last in ICU for upper heart fibrillation for three days. I'm walking a bit but tire easily even hooked up to oxygen.
I know the old heart could just quit anytime but I have come to terms with death on it's terms. Perhaps Mel had a harder time of it who knows?

Heck148
Posts: 3562
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Heck148 » Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:45 pm

Wasn't it Mel who coined the term "Atonal Crap"??!! to display his intense dislike of atonal music in general, and the 2nd Viennese school in particular?? :evil: :evil: :x

this term "AC" was quickly seized upon by the adherents and admirers of 12-tone, serial music, who immediately used it to extoll the virtues and sonic wonders of all sorts of "atonal crap"/AC :P :lol: :lol:
It was a funny bit, that lasted across several different message boards...

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Ralph » Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:45 pm

Heck148 wrote:Wasn't it Mel who coined the term "Atonal Crap"??!! to display his intense dislike of atonal music in general, and the 2nd Viennese school in particular?? :evil: :evil: :x

this term "AC" was quickly seized upon by the adherents and admirers of 12-tone, serial music, who immediately used it to extoll the virtues and sonic wonders of all sorts of "atonal crap"/AC :P :lol: :lol:
It was a funny bit, that lasted across several different message boards...

*****

No, that was me and I was quoting a woman I took to a concert at Alice Tully Hall where an atonal work was performed.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

violinland
Violin Historian
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 4:35 am
Location: Liverpool UK
Contact:

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by violinland » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:11 am

Ralph wrote:I regret to report the death of Mel Merkel on 16 July in Las Vegas. Below is an email I just received from a close friend of Mel's:

Hi Ralph,

I just wanted to tell you that Mel Merkel passed away July 16, 2009 while he was watching TV and holding the remote in his hands.
God bless him!
Thank you Ralph for passing on this news. It is so sad to think that Mel will not enjoy out board any more. I should imagine that during his "down periods" that GMG was an interest and a comfort to him. I empathise with him as a heart sufferer. There are days when one just does not have the energy to do anything but rest. It is encouraging to hear of his relationship with his cardiologist and the treatment he gave him to improve his standard of life.

I extend by sympathy to his relatives, and if he was married to his wife and children. His passing is a great loss to us all.

CHENISTON K ROLAND O.L.
(Violin Historian)
http://www.violinland.com
Author, Broadcaster, Lecturer and Editor of the Violin Times
Member of the Liverpool Medical Institution
VIOLIN EDITOR CMG

Private contact on this board violinland@talktalk.net
SKYPE me as violinlands,"You know you want to"

Heck148
Posts: 3562
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Heck148 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:40 pm

Ralph wrote:No, that was me and I was quoting a woman I took to a concert at Alice Tully Hall where an atonal work was performed.
Oh, thanx, Ralph. I do remember Mel taking right up on that labeling of atonal music tho. He never missed a chance to criticize "AC"

karlhenning
Composer-in-Residence
Posts: 9805
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:12 am
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by karlhenning » Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:48 pm

Heck148 wrote:
Ralph wrote:No, that was me and I was quoting a woman I took to a concert at Alice Tully Hall where an atonal work was performed.
Oh, thanx, Ralph. I do remember Mel taking right up on that labeling of atonal music tho. He never missed a chance to criticize "AC"
Nay, you misspeak, friend: scorn is not criticism.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

Heck148
Posts: 3562
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:53 pm
Location: New England

Re: Death of a Former CMG Member

Post by Heck148 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:05 pm

karlhenning wrote: scorn is not criticism.
Cheers,
~Karl
Mel certainly made his scorn for atonal music quite obvious.... :D

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 24 guests