daily kaddish: for karl savage


Yizkor — יזקור

Our friend J. Todd Ormsbee shared a yizkor of his dear friend Karl Savage recently, and tonight’s Kaddish recording is for Karl. Todd told me a bit more about Karl after seder at Mira’s, and I can still see the sadness in Todd’s eyes as he quietly answered my questions.


About erin

Erin Vang, PMP, BMus, MMus, is Owner and Principal Pragmatist of the consultancy Global Pragmatica LLC®, offering custom JMP scripting, localization program management, and facilitative leadership services. She is also an orchestral horn player who freelances in the San Francisco Bay Area and plays assorted brass for the celebrated dance bands Midnight Smørgåsbord and contraPtion. More about Erin…
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2 Responses to daily kaddish: for karl savage

  1. mira says:

    I’m not sure why, but I was really moved by this kaddish. It’s slow and soulful and sweet. But maybe it’s that I’m listening to it a day late, realizing that when you recorded it, I was in room #6 of the UCSF ER hooked up to monitors and machines, and getting IV drips of meds and fluids. Nothing like an ‘incident’ to bring mortality right back into focus!

    • erin says:

      I think we’ve had enough reminders of your mortality this week—first being one parking garage away from the shooting, and now a night in the ER. Would you give a musician a break and have a couple boring evenings in a row, please?

      This was an interesting Kaddish for me to record. When Todd shared his yizkor of Karl, something about it moved me—how he made their friendship come alive, and how his sadness even a full year later was still so new. I knew when I read that yizkor that I needed to know Todd before I could play the Kaddish. I met him at your seder, and after dinner we talked for a bit, and still I didn’t feel ready. I’ve spent a few weeks now seeing his Facebook and blog posts and getting a better sense of him—still only scratching the surface, of course.

      It was a no-brainer for me that your voice, Mira, would have to be on this recording. You are our connection to each other, and you are key, it seems, to Todd’s connection to Judaism. (Todd, please feel free to jump in here if I’m getting any of this wrong!) Finally last night I felt ready, so I played this Kaddish for Karl, for Todd, and it felt connected up to me.

      Which brings me to a discovery.

      At the outset of this project, I was worried about how I would one day play a Kaddish for Dad, as requested, when I am myself personally involved as a mourner. I was writing, last October, about how much more difficult it is to play the piece when I am personally involved. And here I read myself writing that I couldn’t play this Kaddish for Karl until I knew Todd better!

      Something’s changing about this piece for me.

      It’s becoming a piece that I discover anew each night. I go to play it sometimes with an idea or a plan but most often just hoping it won’t suck, and as I start playing, while holding whichever idea or person in mind that I’ve chosen for the day, I hear what comes out, and I discover how the place I play from affects the way I play, the way I shape the music. Sometimes I am disappointed in or frustrated with the results, and when you write your replies I learn why: you hear the thing that lurks behind the sound.

      And what Todd hears in this Kaddish will be most important of all. Todd, if you can, I hope you’ll take a moment to share it with us.

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