Music: Fire v. Tempo

Conductor Serge Koussevitzky and his Boston Symphony had to pause during Tschaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, one night last week in Manhattan's Carnegie Hall, while Conductor Koussevitzky asked the audience to sit down, be quiet. The billows of smoke that were gushing out on the stage and swirling among the imperturbable musicians, were only from a fire in a rubbish chute, which was quickly controlled. When a friend congratulated Koussevitzky not only for averting a panic but for keeping his tempo precise and unhurried through it all, Koussevitzky answered: "Ah! But tempo is tempo and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!