To give yet more detail, the review (which I have not seen since 1969)
was of the Brahms' 4th Symphony, performed on Friday November 7, 1969.
As I recall from four decades past, the review contained words to the
effect that "it was a shame that Danny Kaye had not been the conductor,
as the audience would then have known that they were supposed to laugh."
At the time, I was the Chief Engineer of the Boston Symphony Transcription
Trust, and the Manager of the Trust, Richard L. Kaye, who was close to
many of the players, related the resultant brouhaha to me.
The musicians regarded Steinberg's barb as a grave insult to a beloved
friend, Danny Kaye. They did not appear to be concerned about the insult
to Giulini. The musicians held a vote and declared Steinberg to be
persona non grata. They demanded that he be excluded from the hall and
murmured dark threats that they would withhold their services if "that
man" was present in the hall at performances.
Eventually, ruffled feathers were smoothed and the matter quieted down,
but it was fun while it lasted.
I have a recording of the concert, which I listened to some years ago.
While one would never think that it was conducted by Weingartner, it
wasn't quite as wayward as Steinberg suggested. It was typical Giulini,
quite passionate. Mengelberg would not have been shocked.
Steinberg was a guest in my Boston house on at least two occasions.
After we both made our way independently to San Francisco, we occasionally
saw each other at Symphony & exchanged pleasantries. He was a perfect
gentleman, of the British school, and extremely polite. A contrast to
his reviews, which were often written with rapier British wit (pace our
British members.) His music articles were wonderfully informative and
entertaining. Also, I enjoyed his tales about his early life in Germany,
before the bad times. His father would take him often to the Opera.
When they went to see Die Meistersinger, since it was so long, they would
see it over 2 nights, an act or two at a time. Then there were stories
about his life as a Kindertransport, and his early days in the USA, in
Saint Louis. He also wrote an article in appreciation of the Furtwangler
Ring, I forget whether the La Scala or the RAI one. Steinberg was
studying in Italy at the time, and was allowed to attend the rehearsals,
which were revelatory to him.
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