December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by piston » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:55 pm

December 6, 1950 After reading a negative review in the Washington Post of a song recital by his
daughter Margaret, President Harry Truman writes to the reviewer, Paul Hume. “Mr. Hume: I have
just read your lousy review of Margaret’s concert. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are an eightulcer
man on four-ulcer pay...Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens, you’ll need a new
nose, alot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below.”
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by piston » Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:00 pm

In spite of her training as an opera singer, to Paul Hume, Margaret was very attractive on stage but mostly "flat" in her singing:
Image
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by piston » Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:08 pm

Do you think Mr. Hume was right?
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 18531
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by Lance » Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:00 am

Image
Margaret Truman, soprano

Well, the voice shows some training, certainly, and it's a "pretty" voice, light in timbre, and not terribly impressive nor memorable. Paul Hume was a very respected music critic and apparently told it as he heard it. [Good for him!] A very sensitive issue for a music critic when it happens to be the president's daughter! I have one or two 10-inch RCA Victor LPs of Margaret Truman's voice. I understand they are highly collectible now. I doubt we will see them resurface on CDs. I have often wondered if I "might" present her on my radio program, selecting of course, the most impressive items, musically, if that's possible. Margaret Truman Daniel also tried her hand at writing. A woman of many talents, eh?
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

THEHORN
Posts: 2625
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:57 am

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by THEHORN » Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:44 pm

From what I remember about the famous (or infamous ) review of Margaret by Paul Hume , it wasn't a catty, mean-spirited or
gratuitously nasty review , something which is not uncommon with music critics today such as Alan Rich or Peter G Davis,
but just one which pointed what the critic felt were the weaknesses in her singing .
Incidentally , of all the US presidents , Truman was the one who was most interested in and knowledgable about classical music . He is said to have been a pretty good pianist , collected classical recordings , and believe it or not, he regularly attended concerts by the National Symphony during his presidency and get this- he actually brought miniature scores along to follow the music !

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:19 pm

THEHORN wrote:From what I remember about the famous (or infamous ) review of Margaret by Paul Hume , it wasn't a catty, mean-spirited or
gratuitously nasty review , something which is not uncommon with music critics today such as Alan Rich or Peter G Davis,
but just one which pointed what the critic felt were the weaknesses in her singing .
By the time I was a resident of the area, Paul Hume no longer wrote much but he still did some radio reviews and I once saw him interviewed on TV. Trust me, the man was colossally lacking in a sense of humor. He reminded me more than anyone of George Will that way.

Last I heard of him and that letter, he had sold it (I guess he needed the money) and was in the process of trying to buy it back.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:24 pm

THEHORN wrote:From what I remember about the famous (or infamous ) review of Margaret by Paul Hume , it wasn't a catty, mean-spirited or
gratuitously nasty review , something which is not uncommon with music critics today such as Alan Rich or Peter G Davis,
but just one which pointed what the critic felt were the weaknesses in her singing .
I wasn't in the region at the time, and I couldn't read either. But the legend never died. The incident came up fairly regularly as long as Hume had his WGMS radio show and wrote a column for the Post. Since Washington was such a small southern town without much native sophistication, and then as now government was the only game in town, one wonders what exactly was Hume's intent. It couldn't have been a mere review of a serious recital. The review was sure to cause a dust up as proud of his daughter as Truman was. So what was the point of insulting her? Yes, she had no business trying to compete in the same arena as serious singers, but so what? Why did he write anything at all? Lots of concerts in the region don't get reviewed; and Hume went to a lot of things he never wrote about.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Ricordanza
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:58 am
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by Ricordanza » Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:50 am

piston wrote:
December 6, 1950 After reading a negative review in the Washington Post of a song recital by his
daughter Margaret, President Harry Truman writes to the reviewer, Paul Hume. “Mr. Hume: I have
just read your lousy review of Margaret’s concert. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are an eightulcer
man on four-ulcer pay...Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens, you’ll need a new
nose, alot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below.”
I first read about this when I went to the 1964 World's Fair in New York, and at one of the pavilions, obtained a copy of the front page of the Herald-Tribune for the day of my birth, December 9, 1950. I'm not sure if this was the top news story of the day, but it was certainly the most memorable item on that front page.

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by piston » Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:55 am

I guess we missed your birthday, Ricordanza.

Many happy returns to you and a most rewarding year ahead!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

Werner
CMG's Elder Statesman
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:23 pm
Location: Irvington, NY

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by Werner » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:23 am

Here's hoping you had a lovely birthday, Ricordanza, even if we didn't take note of it in time - and our wish for many more!
Werner Isler

Ricordanza
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:58 am
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by Ricordanza » Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:36 am

Thanks, Werner and Piston, for the birthday wishes.

IN278S
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:09 pm

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by IN278S » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:26 pm

THEHORN wrote:Incidentally, of all the US presidents, Truman was the one who was most interested in and knowledgable about classical music.
But let's not forget the Nixon Piano Concerto!


Adair
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:29 pm

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by Adair » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:46 pm

Ah, Paul Hume! I remember his very informative and serious shows on WGMS in Washington, D.C. (when that was an in-depth classical radio station---I think it has since folded but not before becoming a "top 10" classical hits sort of station). It was a veritable musical education. I remember that he championed the work of the wonderful but little-known D.C. composer, Mary Howe. Her short piece, "Stars," was played frequently by the National Symphony in the early 60's. He was very close to the National Symphony and to its star performers, such as Wallace Mann. Thanks to Hume, I first heard many great landmark recordings, which were already historic and vintage even then. He apparently had one of the largest record collections of all time, rivaled only by that of another D.C. area music critic, Herbert Pendergast (who did a famous interview with Karajan).

Adair
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:29 pm

Re: December 6, 1950: From Harry T. to Paul Hume

Post by Adair » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:58 pm

I just remembered another program on WGMS that Paul Hume hosted: Delta's World of Opera. It was on that program that I first heard the astonishing recording of Pelleas et Melisande conducted by Karajan and featuring Frederika von Stade and Jose van Damm. Since hearing it on Hume's show, it has been one of my desert island discs!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 46 guests