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Subject: Re: Thomas Beecham Quotes
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:33:42 -0500

text/plain (69 lines)

It's a great book; my copy of the American edition is
titled, simply, TWO WORLDS OF MUSIC.   I remember a
description of how Tiana Lemnitz was able to assemble
the perfect German cast and have them flown to London at the
last minute for a performance of DER ROSENKAVLIER that
Sir Thomas was conducting in 1937.

There could hardly be a more readable account of what those
tumultuous times were like among musical giants than Berta
Geissmar's; thank you for the reminder.


On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 8:58 PM, Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 7:41 PM, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> This thread is one of the best we've ever had; I wish I could contribute
>> something new to it.  Was there ever a published collection of quotes from
>> Sir Thomas?
> There is a delightful collection of anecdotes compiled by H. Atkins & A.
> Newman, BEECHAM STORIES. Yehudi Menuhin wrote an introduction.
>> Has anyone else ever wondered, as I have, what induced Beecham to spend
>> the war years in America, at a time when he was esteemed as an English
>> cultural "icon"?
> Yes, I've always wondered about it. I adore him as a conductor and his wit
> always brings a smile, but I couldn't escape a sense of discomfort and deep
> disappointment with his decision to leave England in the middle of blitz. I
> read about it in a memoir written by Berta Geissmar, THE BATON AND THE
> JACKBOOT. It's a fascinating and incredibly engaging memoir about the
> politics and music culture in her native Germany and then wartime London.
> Coming from a richly musical and intellectual family background, she became
> Furtwangler's secretary in the 1930s and then, thanks to Furtwangler's
> help, as a Jew had to escape to England as a Beecham's secretary. While
> Beecham was away from his native land  during the wartime, she loyally
> guarded his music library and possessions during the entire Blitz period.
> Returning with his new wife after the war, Beecham then simply abandoned
> her as his secretary. She adored him, as she did Furtwangler as well, and
> didn't write a single negative comment about him, but I thought that his
> wartime desertion of his country and then abandoning his loyal secretary
> after she had guarded his music and other possessions from bombs was
> contemptible.
> That said, I can't help but admiring his music-making (incidentally, both
> he and Furtwangler are my favorite conductors) and his wit & humor are
> always irresistible.
> Best, Vesna

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