Music: Serenade in London

At rehearsal, the musicians of London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra gaped at the unwonted spectacle of their crustaceous conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham, taking advice and instruction. His adviser, standing next to the podium, was a stumpy, balding little old man in a frayed brown suit. Once, when the little man whispered in Beecham's ear, the conductor stopped, said: "We are reminded that by this time in the work Don Quixote is sadder but wiser."

Next night, when the same little old man entered the royal box in London's Drury Lane Theater, he was dressed in...

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