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West Coast Rare Books

West Coast Rare Books

Westport / Ireland

[Beecham, Sir Thomas Beecham. A Memoir.

[Beecham, Sir Thomas Beecham. A Memoir.

[Beecham, Thomas] Cardus, Neville. Sir Thomas Beecham. A Memoir. First Edition. London, Collins, 1961. 21.5cm x 14.5cm. 125 (4) pages. Frontispiece photograph of Beecham. Includes photographs. Original Hardcover with original dustjacket. In protective Mylar. Very good condition with only minor signs of external wear.

Neville Cardus first heard Sir Thomas conduct in Manchester in 1912; in 1931 he met him over a white lady at Salzburg in the company of Lady Cunard. Their association spanned the greater part of this century, their friendship some thirty years, and when in 1958 the question of a biography of Sir Thomas came up, he commented that were it to be written, it would be to Neville Cardus that he would turn.

It was not written, but what we have here is in some ways more appropriate. This book is a memoir, a portrait, almost an evocation of this extraordinary man, written by an old friend and admirer who, through all the years of friendship and controversy, never lost his affection or his critical integrity. Cardus writes of him as a man and as a musician, as the last of the dandies who none the less belonged entirely to the nineteenth century and remained at bottom a Lancastrian, born at St. Helen’s. He was not so much a wit as a wag, and the famous stories which are told of him lose much of their flavour unless they are seen as the response to a living situation by an artist in comedy.

But if conversation was a mode of self-expression which came easily to Sir Thomas, music was his medium, and the second part of this book is devoted to his achievements as a conductor. Where does he stand in the musical hierarchy? What was his contribution to the music of these islands? These questions are considered by Neville Cardus and set against the background of Sir Thomas’s views on musicians, which, as might be expected, are a mixture of the outrageous and the inspired.

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Cardus- Sir Thomas Beecham. A Memoir
Cardus- Sir Thomas Beecham. A Memoir

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