"That message doesn't bear much analysis," says Heskett. "If at first you don't succeed, well, maybe you should try something else. In her case, she was so completely devoted to music that she could not have done anything else. She was monochromatic, really."
Heskett believes Brico's legacy lies elsewhere, in the lives of the musicians she transformed. He still tears up when he thinks about the Brico Symphony's encounters with the Verdi Requiem. "She provided people like me, who are only on the periphery of professional music--in fact, we don't think of ourselves as professional musicians--she provided the opportunity for us to participate. I think that's probably her major achievement."
What remains of that achievement resides in the 59 boxes of Brico's personal effects at the Colorado Historical Society, the paper and photographic footprints of her undeflected path through Berlin, New York and Denver. Some pieces of the puzzle are missing, destroyed by Brico or parceled out among friends. But enough survives to establish who Brico was, and to hint at what she might have been.
Stan Oliner, the collection's curator, is particularly taken with the photographs of Brico--the woman and The Gaze. "She had a presence that was unreal," Oliner says. "She was Old World in the New West."
The music is there, too, in dozens of reel-to-reel and cassette tapes featuring rehearsals and performances of the Brico Symphony. This audio history still needs to be further catalogued and sorted out, says Oliner, but it's all there--the high notes, the low notes, the miraculously full sound Brico wrought out of part-time musicians.
The music sits in darkness and silence, waiting for the curtain to rise. Again.