To the Editor:
In his delightful tribute to Pierre Monteux, “A Conductor in History” [January], Samuel Lipman refers to the “fabled Monteux wit.” I can second his observation, from personal experience.
During the 1940′s I attended a Monteux rehearsal of the New York Philharmonic at which von Weber’s Jubilee Overture was being prepared. At the passage toward the end of the work where the “God Save the King” theme is introduced, Monteux, who had been conducting vigorously standing up, ostentatiously sat down. On the conclusion of this section, he stood up again.
The Philharmonic broke up, but somehow managed to finish the work together (surely an orchestra’s first priority), and the balance of the rehearsal went swimmingly.
Donald M. Blinken
New York City