Good Musick

His father was sullen and cantankerous. "If that boy," he fumed, "ever shows the first inclination towards music, or noises disguised as such, I will kill it." Musical noises were just what the boy did incline to, and nothing his father said or did could stop him. On Sundays, his mousy spinster aunt sneaked him off to a church where he could hear an organ. By the time he was eleven, he was composing a church service every week ("I used to write like the devil in those days," he apologized later). He toured the petty courts of Italy and Germany,...

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