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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Book Review

New Expanded edition of the best selling classic -

Beecham Stories
Anecdotes, sayings and impressions of Sir Thomas Beecham
compiled by Harold Atkins and Archie Newman with a Foreword by Yehudi Menuhin
Robson Books hardback 90 pages £10:95 ISBN 1-86105-393-2

AmazonUK   £8.76

This is a welcome return of an old favourite that must have been dipped into and thumbed through by thousands of music lovers, with a sense of humour, the world over.

Beechamís colourful personality, his keen musicianship and his pithy witticisms have become legendary.

Just a few of his quick-witted razor sharp comments:-

On conductors:-

Von Karajan Ė a sort of musical Malcolm Sargent

Toscanini Ė A glorified Italian bandmaster

Sargent (on Beecham hearing he was conducting in Japan)

"Ah! Flash in Japan"

On opera singers:-

A soprano was rehearsing the dying Mimi in the last act of La Bohème with Beecham conducting. He called out: "I want more tone Ė I canít hear you .

"Donít you realise," she protested, "that one canít give of oneís best when one is in a prone position?"

"I seem to recollect", he replied "that I have given some of my best performances in that position."

 

On orchestras:-

"There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesnít give a damn what goes on in between."

On audiences:-

"The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes."

Always guaranteed to raise a smile.

 

Ian Lace


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