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Thomas Beecham: An Obsession with Music Hardcover – July 14, 2009
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What comes over very strongly throughout this book is that Beecham, as a musician, stood head and shoulders above his contemporary colleagues. In particular he had the ability to transform any group of musicians in front of him into performers of a much higher standard largely by force of his own personality. This ability to inspire performers to deliver well beyond their normal level was there at the start of his career and stayed with him until the end of his life.
Beecham was an obsessive man and there were considerable costs paid by many others for his obsessions and these are made clear in the course of the book. He constantly ran up huge debts, often funded by others, which he failed to honour. He regularly made promises on a range of subjects both financial or not which he clearly had little or no intention of fulfilling. He was dismissive of vast numbers of people and cared little for the sensitivities of almost everyone. His treatment of the women in his life was particularly self-centred and cruel in its casual carelessness which ultimately caused them unending grief with the exception of his young last wife of just 19 months.
His famed witticisms were frequently delivered from a position of strength to those who were not in a position to reply. He eventually became a political liability in what he thoughtlessly proclaimed when abroad during the war.Read more ›