Friday, October 18, 2013

Pasqual Fabris -- The Martyrdom of the New Christ

Frances Langford -- "No" to Samoa
Repeated career disappointments and the refusal of film star and vocalist Frances Langford to marry him prompted the 25-year-old violinist to run a length of fire hose from the exhaust pipe of his car into the closed compartment.  On April 27, 1937, police in Los Angeles found Fabris slumped in the seat of his car, the engine still running, a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning.  A rambling 16 page note left in his apartment at 6326 Lexington Avenue listed a litany of professional and personal rebukes that had driven the mentally unbalanced musician over the edge.

Born in Dalmatia on October 28, 1901, Fabris had studied under the noted Viennese conductor Carl Flesch, made his concert debut in Berlin in 1924, and from 1927 to 1931 was first violinist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  In the City of Angels, Fabris' life began to unravel.  In 1933, Fabris failed to win the post of conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra recently vacated by Artur Rodzinski.  Afterward, a major studio's refusal of his offer to direct a cycle of Wagner operas was quickly followed by his dismissal from Raymond Paige's Orchestra, a position obtained through Frances Langford.  The sexy screen actress, however, dealt the final blow to the violinist's teetering sanity when she nixxed his marriage proposal and subsequent scheme to retreat to Samoa where he planned to write a system of philosophy in which he heralded himself as a new Christ.

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