elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
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elisa_rolle

James Holmes & Ned Rorem

James Holmes, an organist and choir director long associated with the Episcopal Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy on West 84th Street in Manhattan, and a sometime composer of considerable skill, died on January 7, 1999, at his home in Manhattan. He was 59. He was Ned Rorem's companion of more than 30 years.

In Rorem’s diaries, James Holmes was known as JH, and on many occasions Rorem mentioned how great his dependency on JH was. At the time when Rorem and Holmes were celebrating their 30th year anniversary, Holmes was battling cancer. Eventually, Holmes was diagnosed HIV positive, and after a great struggle with Rorem by his side, Holmes died of AIDS in 1999. Rorem described the struggle that he and JH faced in his publication, Lies. This haunting work shows the despair and brutality of watching a lover die. As Edmund White says in a roundtable for the New York Times,
The most terrible thing about AIDS is that it destroys the relationship, no matter how loving, between the two partners and eats away at the character of the person who’s dying. Nobody has AIDS and is noble. That’s why all these melodramatic, kitschy plays about AIDS are such lies. Ned told the truth. Maybe the diary is the best form for talking about AIDS, because it shows the quotidian pain, the shifts, the struggles, the reconciliations, the hopes, the dashed hopes. Everything is there.
Since the death of JH, Rorem has said that he no longer looks forward to anything. However, while JH’s death was such a tragedy in his life, Rorem has played a larger role in AIDS awareness because of it.


James Holmes, an organist and choir director, was Ned Rorem's companion of more than 30 years. In Rorem’s diaries, James Holmes was known as JH, and on many occasions Rorem mentioned how great his dependency on JH was. Eventually, Holmes was diagnosed HIV positive, and after a great struggle with Rorem by his side, Holmes died of AIDS in 1999. Rorem described the struggle that he and JH faced in his publication, Lies. This haunting work shows the despair and brutality of watching a lover die.

Mr. Holmes was born on April 2, 1939, in Pittsburg, Kan., and brought up in a musical environment. As a boy he studied violin and piano and later continued his studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In 1967 he moved to New York City. Late that year he met Mr. Rorem and the next year they moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Inevitably, he lived in the shadow of his older (by 16 years) and celebrated partner. But he won admiration in his own right for his professional services and achievements.

His first major post as an organist and choir director was at the Chapel (now Church) of the Intercession in Washington Heights. There, in 1972, he presented a well-received series of organ recitals, each devoted to a modern composer, including Messiaen, Poulenc, Satie and Virgil Thomson.

In 1973 he became the organist and choir director at the Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy, where until his illness intervened he never missed a Sunday or feast day service. It was his custom to feature a 20th-century work in his musical selections. His own ''Stabat Mater,'' an unaccompanied choral work of austere beauty, is published by Boosey & Hawkes. In September the church unveiled a plaque honoring him with ''thanksgiving for 25 years of devoted service.''

Most of his compositions remain in the library at Episcopal Church of St. Matthew & St. Timothy. His personal archives are in the possession of Ned Rorem, whose archives are deeded to the Library of Congress.

Source: www.nytimes.com/1999/01/09/arts/james-holmes-59-composer-choir-director-and-organist.html


Ned Rorem by Robert Giard
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/giard.html)
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: author: ned rorem, days of love
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