One woe treads close upon another's heels. Now the two greatest British tenors of their generation, Philip Langridge and Anthony Rolfe Johnson, have taken leave of us within a matter of months (Robert Tear, who was such fun when we met in a BBC studio last year, is I guess slightly older, and going strong, touch wood). Tony - I only call him that through the resident heldentenor, who knew him from Aldeburgh and ENO - had been ill with Alzheimer's for many years, so for the family I'm guessing this will come as a release.
I thought of him when I put up that heartbreaking Poulenc song 'Bleuet', though I didn't want to draw attention to his state then. And now, as before, it's time first to celebrate his stylish art. Top, spectacular choice has to go to that 'Fuor del mar' from Idomeneo.
I've never heard it sung better - the same would go for his Monteverdi Orfeo, and indeed Jessica Duchen chose the stunning 'Possente spirto' over on her Standpoint blog - and it brings back memories of a golden age, with the two great Mozart opere serie performed side by side with near-perfect casts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
That was something Langridge couldn't replicate. Of course he always had the neurotic, intense edge in Britten, though it was a treat to see their Aschenbachs almost side by side. And ARJ's Grimes on the Haitink recording is a beautiful piece of singing. What I want to hear - and I can't, as I'm not at home - are the Michelangelo Sonnets in that ineffable recording with Graham Johnson. They're not as far as I can see on YouTube, but here's one of the Hardy settings from Winter Words instead.