A Composer Remembers
My first personal acquaintance with Lord Tennyson dates from Christmas 1879, when I spent a short time at Freshwater. Previously, however, in 1875, I had had experience of his thoughtful kindness. He had chosen me, an unknown and untried composer, to write the incidental music to his tragedy of Queen Mary for its production at the Lyceum Theatre, then under the management of Mrs Bateman. Many difficulties were put in the way of the performance of the music, into the causes for which I had neither the wish nor the means to penetrate. Finally, however, the management gave as an explanation that the music could not be performed, as the number of orchestral players required for its proper presentment would necessitate the sacrifice of two rows of stalls. To my young and disappointed soul came the news of a generous action which would have been a source of pride to many a composer of assured position and fame. The poet had offered, unknown to me, to bear the expense of the sacrificed seats for many nights, in order to allow my small share of the work to be heard. The offer was refused, but the generous action remains, one amongst the thousands of such quiet and stealthy kindnesses which came as second nature to him, and were probably as speedily forgotten by himself as they were lastingly remembered by their recipients.
KeywordsPersonal Acquaintance English Hearth English Accent Allot Period August 1880
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