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Rosemary Brown
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    (July 27, 1916-November 16, 2001)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Birth name was Rosemary Dickinson
    Spiritualist and composer
    Presented compositions that she claimed were new works dictated by dead composers
    Transcribed posthumous pieces by Liszt, Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Schumann, Chopin, Debussy, Grieg, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky
    Wrote the books 'Unfinished Symphonies: Voices from Beyond' (1971), 'Immortals at my Elbow' (1974) and 'Look Beyond Today' (1986)
    With Peter Katin, recorded the album 'A Musical Seance' (1970)
    There were disputes over just how much musical training she had received over the years.
    Most music critics felt her works were pastiches and reworkings of the composers' existing works.
    Critic Irving Kolodin noted, 'Not one of the composers has had a new idea or worthwhile thing to say since he last had the opportunity to convey his thoughts on paper.'
    When 'Time' came up with a list of 20 questions to submit to the composers to prove their identity, she declined, claiming 'I cannot push a button and call on the composers just like that.'
    Yet she had no problem with the BBC asking if she could get Franz Liszt to write a composition while their cameras rolled.
    She said that the composers transmitted music through her to prove that there was life after death.
    Oddly, none of the composers ever thought, 'Surely there must be a more direct way of achieving that goal.'
    Her supporters like to mention how she showed no interest in profiting from her experiences; actually, she profited quite nicely since two believers established a trust fund to let her quit her day job and compose full time.
    Everyone who met her said she was completely sincere in her beliefs.
    Although most of her compositions were nothing to write home about, a handful stand out as exceptional.
    Composer Richard Rodney Bennett said, 'If she is a fake, she is a brilliant one.... Some of the music is awful, but some is marvelous. I couldn't have faked the Beethoven.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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