Jessica Duchen's Classical Music Blog. Music and writing in London, UK.
Friday, June 28, 2019
Meet lifelong composer Erika Fox. Her first CD is out today. She is 82.
This is one of my favourite interview assignments ever, just out in The JC. Erika Fox, who escaped Anschluss Vienna as a toddler with her mother, and has struggled all her life to follow her musical vocation, tells me her story. The first-ever commercial recording of her music is released today on the NMC label.
Erika Fox Photo: Tim Fox
Erika Fox’s coffee mug is emblazoned with the title of HG Wells’s The Invisible Man. One can’t help noticing, because this extraordinary composer has for too long been an almost invisible woman. Today, her first-ever commercial CD is released, featuring a selection of her chamber works. She is 82.
Musical cognoscenti reacted with horrified astonishment to the realisation that Fox’s music has not previously been recorded. Its style is tough yet mesmerising, highly individual, with a strong undertow of unsettling emotion. “Some people have said it’s challenging, but because it’s mine, I don’t think of it that way,” Fox remarks. “To me it’s ordinary. It’s what I do.”
She lives in west London in a house overflowing with books and music, her home on and off for decades. Her music is much like her upfront personality — warm, perceptive and forthright, with a refreshing dislike of “pussyfooting around”. But it has also been nurtured with many difficult and painful memories...