Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 368



Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.

Page 368

largely, if not wholly, to the feminine nature. It was very satisfying to him to hear his wife play in the evening; but when it came to public concerts, they were not for his masculine nature. In other words, Bok shared the all too common masculine notion that music is for women and has little place in the lives of men.

One day Josef Hofmann gave Bok an entirely new point of view. The artist was rehearsing in Philadelphia for an appearance with the orchestra, and the pianist was telling Bok and his wife of the desire of Leopold Stokowski, who had recently become conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, to eliminate encores from his symphonic programmes; he wanted to begin the experiment with Hofmann’s appearance that week. This was a novel thought to Bok: why eliminate encores from any concert? If he liked the way any performer played, he had always done his share to secure an encore. Why should not the public have an encore if it desired it, and why should a conductor or a performer object? Hofmann explained to him the entity of a symphonic programme; that it was made up with one composition in relation to the others as a sympathetic unit, and that an encore was an intrusion, disturbing the harmony of the whole.

“I wish you would let Stokowski come out and explain to you what he is trying to do,” said Hofmann. “He knows what he wants, and he is right in his efforts; but he doesn’t know how to educate the public. There is where you could help him.”

But Bok had no desire to meet Stokowski. He mentally pictured the conductor: long hair; feet never



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