Music: Barking Busoni

What kind of horseplay was this? On the opening night of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony, with no conductor in sight, a trumpeter stood up and blew a shattering blast at the audience. A figure in top hat and cape leaped to the podium and began to orate: " 'Tis not for children, not for gods, this play; for understanding people 'tis designed . . ." Finally, Conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos appeared and gave the downbeat, and the perplexed audience settled down to the first U.S. performance of Ferruccio Busoni's "theatrical capriccio," Harlequin.

There were no gods present, and few children. Philharmonic first-nighters, who...

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