Twenty years after the shocking, tragic and senseless death of Diana, the Princess of Wales, an American composer has come forth with a musical tribute. Reflecting Diana’s beauty, elegance and warmth, but also her intelligence, substance and authority in championing worthwhile causes and benefitting needy people around the world, the emotion-drenched composition was recorded by the London Symphony at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London in the early Autumn of 2015.
“I wrote the music in that stunning period right after the Princess left us,” said the composer, Lucius Craig Cervantes. “At the time I was not thinking of who could and would hear it and how I would accomplish that but rather of the tremendous outpouring of loss around the globe at losing this singular and remarkable individual.”
Cervantes, is a native of St. Louis, Missouri, a city drenched in French, German, Italian and African-American culture, and since its founding in the 1700s a glowing source of great music, great musical artists and passion for music, theater and poetry.
He is in fact one of five accomplished sons and one equally accomplished daughter of a legendary St. Louis mayor, Alfonso Cervantes, and an equally legendary First Lady, the beautiful and elegant and generous Carmen, who like Diana had always been invested in making life better for people of all stations of life.
Besides the distinction of their Hispanic heritage, the Cervantes family was known for its close ties with the African-American community in St. Louis, one reason the city was among the few great American business and cultural giants not to suffer racial turmoil during his terms of office, 1965-1973. Craig, consequently, experienced an unusually diverse childhood and unusual exposure to multiple cultures of music.
Playing five (!) instruments by his teenage years, Cervantes debuted professionally in 1973 playing drums for the legendary rock, soul and blues royalty Chuck Berry.
“When I was writing my tribute I thought a lot about what ‘royalty’ means,” Craig said, “There is no question that Diana exuded royal qualities before she became royal. She was beautiful, thoughtful, private and yet immensely interested and invested in the lives of all people and what she could do to make their lives better.
“As a Princess she was known for her elegance, glamour, grace and calm, and her natural warmth and wit, but she was celebrated more for her courage in pursuing good works, often in dangerous places and situations.”
Cervantes and the Princess actually share several qualities. First, both were born into prominent families and grew up in homes bursting with vitality and welcoming to people of varied backgrounds, talents, aspirations and social and economic situations.
They also both were even when young visually striking, commandingly attractive but also not standard issue, both exuding exceptional charisma without even trying.
But also both were children who provided their parents with the challenge of nurturing a child who was creative, interested in art and music rather than politics and prominence, and who seemed to see everything and miss nothing rather than simply noticing what most children notice.
In both cases, the parents did not try to mold their unusual child to the usual. In Craig’s case, his parents obtained the best education imaginable for pursuing his passion for music and music composition, and he attended singular educational institutions and studied in places far beyond St. Louis, including Europe, being noted at a young age for his talent, discipline, work ethic, courage and for his warm, engaging personality.
He gained a wide following both as a composer and pianist, and talented singer, and recorded and released several well-received albums, which he recorded in Pacific-influenced California. Those recordings uncannily blended jazz, popular, ethnic and classical influences with great flavor and fervor.
But Cervantes also generated influence as a prominent real estate and development executive specializing in luxury properties. That work often took him to Florida, where he also performed as a pianist and singer at the most prominent hotels.
Craig’s unceasing fascination with people had led to an enormous collection of friendships and artistic influences. Like Princess Diana, he knows no strangers and has no limits to his curiosity.
Into his tribute to Princess Diana he has poured overwhelming feeling, emotion, romance, elegance and compelling excitement. The recording session September 18, 2015, gathered together under the conducting of maestro Lee Reynolds nearly 50 of England’s premiere musicians. All are credited by name on the albums cover, as are the orchestrator, Tyler Abbott, and the engineer, Jonathan Allen, and the outstanding producer Tony Catania.
“I remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news of Princess Diana’s terrible accident and then her passing,” he said, “but, then, doesn’t everyone? It was only natural that I wanted to express that moment in music, hopefully music for the world. Twenty years later, the world has not forgotten Diana. If anything, her legend has steadily grown. I am happy to add to it.”