Music: I Bow Humbly

The tidy Dutch were checking over the books of Amsterdam's famed Concertgebouw Orchestra. If everything was in order, Conductor Eduard van Beinum's musicians would get their annual subsidy as usual. But this time everything was distinctly not in order: Van Beinum's predecessor, the great Dutch conductor Willem Mengelberg, was still down on the books for 10,000 guilders ($3,760) a year, even though he had been sent into musical exile in 1945 for collaborating with the Nazis.

Nobody had quarreled with the annuity when it had been granted to aging, cello-sized (5 ft. 4...

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