Music: Everything So Perfect

"Here," beamed moonfaced Conductor Fritz Busch, "is everything so perfect . . . If we miss a note now & then, is that so important? What counts is the enthusiasm." At Cincinnati's 38th biennial May Music Festival, famed Metropolitan Opera Conductor Fritz Busch was getting just about all the enthusiasm he could handle, and he enjoyed every decibel of it.

For some of the festival's choral numbers, he had assembled 1,800 singers, including some 600 children. Once the enthusiasm had to be coaxed out of the kids. Rehearsing Benjamin Britten's Spring Symphony, Busch urged the boys to make their whistling less "polite";...

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