The community of American music is in mourning for Steven Stucky, a composer of consummate skill and a colleague of rare generosity. He died yesterday in Ithaca, NY, at the age of sixty-six; Michael Cooper, of the New York Times, reports that the cause was brain cancer. I knew him only slightly, but he struck me as the kind of person who takes pleasure as much in the success of others as in his own — a characteristic that made him widely beloved, not least among a couple of generations of students at Cornell. He was also a superb public advocate for contemporary music, notably during his long run as composer-in-residence at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Amid a sizable corpus of works, the environmental tone poem Silent Spring, based on the book by Rachel Carson, deserves particular praise. Its long, desolate fade from an apocalyptic climax shows that Stucky was more than a craftsman; like Copland and Bernstein before him, he could make the orchestra an oratorical medium.