In my six columns I have written about visual art, crafts and literature, but I haven’t written anything about music. I determined I must do something about the lack and started writing about music, but the column seemed thin and whiny. Last week I bought a new book by Daniel Levitin, This is Your Brain on Music, hoping it would inspire me. It inspired me so much that now I have too much to deal with – the piece is thick and unwieldy. I got panicky and wrote another column I had in mind, one I could do more easily. But I have a hiatus because this Saturday the editor decided to devote the whole of Salon, the art section of the paper, to reproductions of the paintings that the Beaverbrook Art Gallery must give back to the Beaverbrook Foundation. So the column for yesterday can be printed next Saturday, I have two more nearly ready to go for the two weeks after that, and I can concentrate on the music one. Music is the art I know the least about, although in my younger days I knew quite a lot. I played the piano (not well) and the baritone horn in the high school band and had a fabulous music 101 course in college. One of the first purchases we made after we were married was a state of the art stereo. But in the last twenty years I have neglected it because I was often asked to write about the other arts (some 80 articles.)
The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, generously stocked by Lord Beaverbrook with wonderful paintings, has been in a hassle with the Beaverbrook Foundation which claims that the paintings weren’t gifts, but loans. Last week the judge ruled that 87 of the paintings in question belong to the BAG and 48 to the Foundation. It is alleged that Lord Beaverbrook’s grandsons want the paintings to sell because they have gone bankrupt. One of the paintings, J M Turner’s Fountain of Indolence, is said to be worth $25 million. It is one that does belong to the gallery. In the past the Foundation has taken paintings from the collection under the pretense that it was going to have them restored, but instead sold them. The judge ruled that all of these belonged to the gallery and the foundation must compensate for them.