Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Nice anecdote via Terry Teachout:
Dostoevsky said it: "Man gets used to everything--the beast!" It's been a long time since I got a charge out of seeing my name in print. Even so, I have yet to reach the level of detachment attained by Paul Hindemith when he decided that he was too busy to attend the world premiere of his Symphonia Serena in Dallas in 1947. "Why should I go to hear my own works?" he said to a friend.

Geoffrey Skelton, Hindemith's biographer, tells the rest of the story:
In the end he did consent to go, though only because he had a certain musical problem on his mind and thought that he could best work it out in the train, where he would be undisturbed. Carl Miller, who gave me the clearest account of this episode which is one of the favourite and most widely recalled ones at Yale, said that his students were amazed when he came into the classroom, grinning from ear to ear. "Why aren't you in Dallas?" they asked. "Because I had solved my problem by the time I got to New York," he said. "So I got out of the train and came back home."