Letter: Francis Monkman obituary | Music

2023-09-14 15:32:37

We became friends with the musician Francis Monkman when he joined our monthly meetings studying the Agni Yoga books of Helena and Nicholas Roerich.

He also took an interest in our Ballets Old and New theatre work, giving us his synthesiser version of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring. When we were presented with Nijinsky medals at the Polish embassy for our reconstruction of the 1913 premiere production he was there, resplendent in a Chinese silk jacket.

For our 1996 reconstruction of Arthur Honegger’s ballet Skating Rink (1922) we were unable to find a recording, but Francis created one from the original score, also using a synthesiser. The result served splendidly during the studio rehearsals until the Zurich Opera Orchestra made their own during the week of the premiere.

A great encourager, Francis delighted in the virtuoso harmonica playing of another Agni group member, Alex Finlayson.

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