The Passing of John McGlinn
As a researcher, McGlinn was a veritable bloodhound, sniffing out original material hidden for decades in libraries, vaults, musty warehouses and private collections. One treasure that Cole Porter believed lost forever was the score for his 16-minute ballet, "Within the Quota," first performed in Paris in 1923. Scenery, plot and costumes were by his party-animal buddy Gerald Murphy, scion of the Mark Cross department store, who was unflatteringly portrayed by Scott Fitzgerald as Dick Diver in "Tender Is the Night."
McGlinn searched for this work all over the world and finally traced the original to the archives of the Royal Swedish Ballet in Stockholm. He persuaded the Swedes and the Porter estate to let him include it in the album of Porter overtures. A fusion of classical and jazz, it predated Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" by a year. If a ballet company presented it today, I'm convinced it would create huge buzz.
The Missing Link
When I read that McGlinn had been found dead of a probable heart attack in his New York apartment, I went to my CD collection and found that I had acquired five of his albums over the years:
"Anything Goes" — "Brigadoon" — "Gershwin Overtures" — "Jerome Kern Treasury" — "Cole Porter Overtures"
While listening to these masterpieces and reveling in McGlinn's deft touch, I started reading the little brochures that accompanied the albums and realized that something was missing. While I found exhaustive material on the composers, singers, orchestrations and history of each work, John McGlinn was represented only in a photograph; there was nothing about him personally. Was he gay, straight or neuter? Married or single? Where did he grow up and get his musical education? From The New York Times obituary:
John Alexander McGlinn 3rd was born in Bryn Mawr, Pa., and grew up in nearby Gladwyne. A self-taught pianist, he studied music theory and composition at Northwestern University, from which he graduated in 1976.