Mr Stokowski going shoeless into the meditation room

...Philadeplphia would be shocked to see Mr Stokowski going shoeless into the meditation room. He played a lot of his trial records for us the other night and they were wonderful...
That extract* comes from a letter written by Erma Williams, who was the sister of Jiddu Krishnamurti's close associate and purported lover Rosalind Rajagopal. It dates from 1928 when Krishnamurti was still being promoted by the Theosophical Society as the 'vehicle' of the expected World Teacher, and it refers to Leopold Stokowski's attendance at the Theosophical Society's summer camp at Erde Castle in Holland. Theosophy has attracted many musicians including John Foulds, Cyril Scott, Ruth Crawford Seeger and Dane Rudhyar. Mary Lutyens, mother of the composer Elizabeth Lutyens, was a fervent disciple of Krishnamurti and also his editor and biographer, although her daughter developed a strong aversion to the spiritual movement. Another celebrated musician who embraced Theosophy was Alexander Scriabin, and in an example of Theosophic convergence Stokowski gave the US premiere of the Poem of Ecstacy in Philadelphia in 1916. It would indeed be shocking to find one of today's thoroughly modern celebrity maestros associating themselves with a spiritual movement, let alone shedding their Louis Vuitton footwear to enter a meditation room.

* Extract is from Radha Rajagopal Sloss' book Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti. Header photo, which fortuitously does not show Stoki's feet, comes via Wikipedia. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.

Comments

Pliable said…
Yes, I know - http://www.overgrownpath.com/2009/04/yogic-maestro-to-premiere-shankar.html
Bookhound said…
It could have been worse - residents of the Barclay Hotel could apparently spot Stokowski sunbathing in the nude! https://www.philorch.org/sites/default/files/StokowskiProgram.pdf

Recent popular posts

Classical's elusive young audience wants chewy music

How to reach a big new post-COVID classical audience

Watch this classical music movie or forever live in darkness

What the law of diminishing diversity tells us

'John Cage had been one of my heroes since the age of seventeen'

Miniature celebration for Gyorgy Kurtag

What a charade in Dubai

Ravi Shankar's centenary must not be lost to lockdown

Jerry Springer rebel grabs Gramophone accolade

Gentlemen, old Bach is here....