Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Humor (and Surprise!) of Music

Michael and I spent some time in the University library today. I love mindlessly and randomly pulling one or two books from the music section off the shelf and taking them home, because you never know what you might find you don't know (or wouldn't otherwise know). In today's handful was a slim volume from 1971 called The Humor of Music by Humphrey.

The title page told me it was by Laning Humphrey, who was the (sole) publicist for the Boston Symphony for decades.

Laning Humphrey (1896-1988) was also the father of my elementary school music teacher, Patricia Frederick who, along with her husband, runs the (fantastic) Frederick Historic Piano Collection housed in Ashburnham, Massachusetts (with lots of information about the instruments on line, of course). Some of the illustrations in the book are by Pat's mother, Martha Burnham Humphrey, who I remember as Mrs. Humphrey (Pat was Miss Humphrey when I was in her classes and chorus).

I settled down to read the anecdotes about the great and mighty musicians of yesteryear, and then I came to page 45:

That is a story about my father!

There is what I imagine to be a proofreading error. My father entered the orchestra as a violinist, and he became the principal violist of the Boston Symphony.

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