Music: One for the Queen

One spring night in 1889, a young man named Bernard Shaw sat in an Amsterdam theater watching the first performance of an opera by a Dutch composer named Simon van Milligen. In his report to the London Star, perspicacious young "Corno di Bassetto" (Shaw's pen name) was kind to the opera, but hooted at the company director's curtain speech about the triumphant establishment of a great national school of opera."

Shaw was not tootling his corno out of key. The Dutch have been great creators on canvas, but not so great at creating music. Composer...

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