Friday, December 27, 2013
His Massive Bald Head
Listening to some Sibelius and wondering what barbs the old MILTON CROSS' ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT COMPOSERS AND THEIR MUSIC might have to toss at him. You know, Milton Cross and his cronies are very interested in how funny-looking Bruckner was, and how everybody hated Franck, and many other examples of whimsical pettiness I have given you over the dull years of our acquaintance. So I read the little summary of Sibelius's life, and it was pretty worshipful, page upon page of love, in fact, rushing toward an appreciation of his sartorial genius: "He combined meticulousness in his choice of clothes with a passion for comfort. His custom-made suits were sewed a size larger than necessary to give him freedom of movement, and he always wore collars that fitted loosely around the neck. His shoes were made by hand in Berlin." But then, at the beginning of the very next paragraph, old Milton Cross ceases to disappoint! "His massive bald head was evidence of his vanity. When he was forty years old, his first gray hairs appeared. Rather than provide visible proof that he was growing older, he shaved his head and kept it shaved."