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Joined: May 2007
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I am so very sorry to hear this. Phlebas was certainly one of my favourite posters - I always read what he had to say and found it so well-written, helpful and balanced. My sincere condolences to his family.


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Like the others who have already expressed their condolences, I am saddened at the loss of someone that I never met in person. Phlebas and I exchanged a good deal of correspondence on both moderator and piano related matters. I found him to be generous with his time, considered in his opinions and very knowledgeable about the piano and piano music. Although it seems trite to say that I'll miss him having never met face to face, the fact is I will miss him and will feel the loss long after he is gone.

Condolences to his family.


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This is a true shock, I am so sorry to hear that. He was a great PW member and moderator.
My condolences to his family and friends.



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How terribly sad.

Really sorry to hear, I loved reading his posts.

My thoughts are with his family.

Jerry


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WOW such sad news.RIP Phlebas, prayers to you & your family..


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i just received the following email:
Quote
this is Betsy, Mike's sister. This is so incredible to see all these comments. This gives us all such comfort.

I knew about the forum--Mike and I were extremely close. We were only a year apart in age and went to music school together. I'm a violinist and was lucky enough to have him as my accompanist whenever I could. For anyone who only knew him on the forum and not in person, he was the most funny, wonderful and loving friend, brother, father and husband anyone could every wish for. I mean that sincerely. Everyone though so.

I want to thank you and everyone for their kind words. It is incredible to see how he was loved and respected.


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Originally Posted by BB Player
Like the others who have already expressed their condolences, I am saddened at the loss of someone that I never met in person.
.
.
.
Although it seems trite to say that I'll miss him having never met face to face, the fact is I will miss him and will feel the loss long after he is gone.

Condolences to his family.


Very well said, Greg.

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I was fortunate enough to have met him in person, and I found him to be one of the wittiest, even-tempered folks on line. He wore his sense of humanity on his sleeve.

RIP Mike.


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My condoleances to Phlebas family and friends.
When I get home I'll play a piece dedicated to Phlebas. I'm sure he will listen.


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So sorry to hear. RIP .

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So sorry to hear this. Phlebas will be sorely missed.

My condolences to his family and friends.

Undone


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My memories from 2 piano parties

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Originally Posted by piqué
phlebas selected his screen name from a poem, t.s. eliot's "the waste land."

here is the stanza his name came from:

Quote
IV. DEATH BY WATER


PHLEBAS the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.


i am not sure what to make of that!


I was wondering about his name and came across this Wikipedia entry about space opera novel called Consider Phlebas Maybe that's the source.

Last edited by kathyk; 09/22/10 10:46 AM.
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Phlebas was so wonderful at giving feedback to anyone who put up recordings here or at the other piano forums. So many times, he offered wonderful suggestions to people's technical questions (my own included.

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This was taken two years ago at a NY piano party at forum member, Jeffrey's home. I was admiring his beautiful execution of the 1st movement of Beethoven's 24th sonata. It's hard to believe he's gone. What a huge loss to the forum.


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Originally Posted by kathyk
Originally Posted by piqué
phlebas selected his screen name from a poem, t.s. eliot's "the waste land."

here is the stanza his name came from:

Quote
IV. DEATH BY WATER


PHLEBAS the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.


i am not sure what to make of that!


I was wondering about his name and came across this Wikipedia entry about space opera novel called Consider Phlebas Maybe that's the source.


he wrote in a 2003 coffee room thread..

"No problem, appall.

My handle, is from a deceased poet, and a contemporary novelist"

(i love the photo you posted as well Kathy).


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
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Mystery solved. From Fleabag to Appall - lol. So, I guess it was both. He *was* a very literary fellow in addition to a gifted pianist.

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His name was Michael Olsen, on the internet he went by Phlebas, a character out of that strange and evocative poem by T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland. He was a competent and confident pianist, he gave one the impression of enduring strength. Some of us heard his performance of the finale from Beethoven’s seventh piano sonata Op 10 #3, played at Beethoven Pianos in NYC on a Bosendorfeer. It was all good, true Beethoven throughout, but I was actually most impressed with the way he played the very end of it, the coda or tail, where a rapid figure accompanies a jagged theme and brings the piece to a close. If one can play those fleeting things that some of the piano literature requires and do it without hesitation, as if “like the wind” or even as in this case, a gentle breeze, then one has reached a certain level of pianistic accomplishment. Some heard him play Ravel’s Noctuelles, one of the harder pieces to learn and even harder to interpret. But the connection between Noctuelles and that fleeting part at the end of the Beethoven sonata are part of the same kind of pianistic accomplishment; making something so off hand sound easy and normal. That’s one of the things we’ll remember about Michael, his accomplishments. Some of us also had the opportunity to receive a lot of practical pianistic encouragement from him. I was actually looking forward to seeing him at a future NYC piano party.

Some years ago we lost a friend on the forums, a fellow who went by Andrew. He died of a spider bite. He was also quite young, taken down in his prime. How fleeting is a human life when any number of simple and mundane events can bring one to a close? What is the purpose of it? For a few years, a few brief times in person, we knew a man who gave us all the impression of enduring strength. But something suddenly killed him leaving a great loss. We weren’t told what it was. The last time any of us can recall, it was just a spider’s bite (or more exactly the victim’s auto immune or allergic reaction response to it). Some of us think we’d be more enlightened if we knew what felled Michael, therefore we might prevent the day of our own calling away from this experience into what we know not.

For we the living who are left, we have the usual hard business of figuring it all out, the mystery of life, the wonder of music, the peculiar and particular wonder of piano music, how to follow an act as well done as Michael’s example leaves us. It wasn’t so much some may think; he played a few things, Chopin, Beethoven, even the delicate and iridescent Noctuelles. Oh yes, but he did play them and some of us who heard him will likely not forget: that’s the power of live performance, unlike recordings those we’ve heard live are hardest to forget. Will we know the meaning of it all after this life? Will it be perhaps as it often is upon wakening from a night of dreams? Will the circle be unbroken and those of us who met at piano parties or in piano stores meet again in piano galleries beyond the stars? Will we even know of pianos there? Who can say. But I for one have a wish for Michael, as he may or may not be waiting for the eventual roll call of the rest of us; that he may be able to find a perfect piano and perhaps an encouraging spirit among the immortals to gently prod him along his journeys.

It’s perfectly ok to shed tears at times like this. I have.

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david, you are eloquent, as usual. thanks for recalling your impressions of mike at the piano. they helped to jar my memory (i was there, too).

there was a steadiness about mike, the sense he could be depended on, trusted. and there was also a lot of humility about his significant musical gifts.

as for the phlebas name, when i interviewed him for GRAND OBSESSION, he told me it was from the t.s. eliot poem.

oh! oh! i just realized where a lot of his missing emails are! they must be in my work files for G.O.


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I remember reading some threads and posts by Phlebas. Though I didn’t know him personally, I am so sorry to hear of his passing, and his family and friends are in my prayers.

Take care,

Rick


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David, thank you for your eloquence. you always know what to say. I too wish for that perfect piano for Phlebas.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
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