Well, Tucker brought a contralto and a cellist. And the cellist’s perfectly gorgeous, blonde, Stradivarius cello. They gave half of the session to an animated recitation of the famous instrument’s own life history.* Then they (cellist and contralto) performed Charles Ives’ setting of Vachel Lindsay’s “General William Booth Enters Into Heaven.” My first exposure to both Ives and Lindsay,** who have since become favorites. And, be it added redundantly, to that piece, which has become my prime example of an American work that owes nothing*** whatever to the Old World.
*Nicknamed, if I recall correctly, the “Great Blonde”), this treasure seems to have belonged to most of the crowned music-lovers and principal string-vibrating musical geniuses of the past three hundred years.
**All my grandchildren know that “The Moon’s the North Wind’s Cookie” is by Vachel Lindsay. Although Puckish granddaughter Lindsay Ralston (younger sister of Bethany) has been known to attribute it, with a grin, to “Vachel Bethany”.
**Well, almost nothing. Booth hailed from Nottinghamshire, of course.
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