Music: Is Sir Thomas Necessary?

Britain was struck last week by a tempest-on-a-podium. High winds raged around goateed, TNT-tempered Conductor Sir Thomas Beecham.

Returning from one of his frequent guest-conducting tours, Sir Thomas had found that Manchester's venerable Hallé Concerts Society, weary of his absenteeism, had removed him as its president. Sir Thomas is not a man to be fired lightly. He thundered: "I have not the slightest intention of ... permitting myself to be removed. . . ."

Then he had printed on his calling cards and note paper: President of the Hallé Concerts Society. Further, he threatened to sue. The Society retorted that its bylaws...

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