Sir Thomas Sez...

 Top 11 Thomas Beecham Quotes:

11. A musicologist is a man who can read music but can't hear it.

10.
Brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away.

9. Composers should write tunes that chauffeurs and errand boys can whistle.

8.
I have just been all round the world and have formed a very poor opinion of it.

7. What can  you do with it? It's like a lot of yaks jumping about."
--Sir Thomas on Beethoven's Seventh Symphony

6."In the first movement alone, I took note of six pregnancies and at least four miscarriages."
--Sir Thomas on Bruckner

5."Her singing reminds me of a cart coming downhill with the brake on."
-- Sir Thomas on an unidentified soprano in Die Walkyre

4. The sound of a harpsichord is… like two skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof. "

3. Try everything once except folk dancing and incest.

2. "Have you heard any Stockhausen?" Beecham was asked. "No, but I believe I have stepped in some.""

1. "Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands and all you can do is scratch it."
--Sir Thomas to a lady cellist.
 


Two longer bits:

"A soprano in Massenet's Don Quixote complained that she had missed her entry in the aria, "because Mr. Challiapin always dies too soon." "Madam, you must be profoundly in error," said Sir Thomas, "No operatic star has yet died half soon enough for me."

"'My father,' Beecham confided, 'came to me one Christmas and said, "Look, here, my lad, I've been spendin' a lot o' brass on your musical education, and now Ah wants you to help me." (Every year Beecham's Pills produced a Christmas Carol Annual). "Now Tom," continued my father, "I want you to go through the Annual and alter some of th' verses so as to promote th' business."' Thomas retired to his study and came up with the following: Hark! the herald angels sing! Beecham's Pills are just the thing, Two for a woman one for a child. . . . Peace on Earth and mercy mild! 'These sentiments,' Beecham related, 'especially the ellipsis, seem to me admirably to express the rapture which is occasioned by a good effortless release.'"
 


Sir Thomas  Beecham, 1879–1961,  was educated at Oxford but did not attend any formal music school. Early in his career as a conductor and producer, he introduced his fellow countrymen to the operas of Richard Strauss, many Russian operas, and the Russian ballet. In 1932 he organized the London Philharmonic Orchestra, forging it into one of the world's finest orchestras, and in 1932 he became artistic director of Covent Garden Opera, London. In 1946 he organized the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London.

Beecham wrote a biography of Delius, whose music he championed; he also excelled at interpreting Mozart, Haydn, Handel, Berlioz, and Sibelius. He was known for his exquisite phrasing, his ability to masterfully unfold a melodic line, his fine sense of proportion, his combination of power and delicacy, and his insight into the unique styles of various composers. For his services to British music, Beecham was knighted in 1916; he also had enormous international influence.