When I was playing in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra nearly 60 years ago, Sir Thomas Beecham was still conducting, and many of the players had known him for years. Sir Thomas was surrounded by stories. He had a great wit, much off-colour (there were only male members in the orchestra) and perhaps some apocryphal. One story, to do with the young lad, was that when his tutor stated that “Beethoven is the Greatest”, young Thomas said he thought Mozart was the greatest. The players knew that what Sir Thomas wanted was what Sir Thomas would get.
Flash forward 30 years, and I was teaching the English music curriculum to Cayman Islands students. I was required to state “Beethoven is the greatest composer”. The students may have wondered why I had a smile on my face when I complied with the curriculum. The concept of a “greatest” composer is one I leave with you, but could you advise me what the greatest fruit is? — Larry Hobson