Monday, August 12, 2013

“You Might As Well Use Everything Available”

“You might as well use everything available. You’ll never hear the piece again.”—Thomas Beecham to William Walton, during the latter’s composition of “Belshazzar’s Feast”.

Beecham’s remarks were in response to a question posed by Walton. The young composer had asked the wizened conductor whether it was advisable to score “Belshazzar’s Feast” for an enlarged brass section.

Happily, Beecham’s prognostication about the work’s long-term prospects—Beecham was all too aware that most new works are heard once, and never again—has proved inaccurate.

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