A little ahead … or a little behind

Samuel Sebastian Wesley received great reviews for his conding at Gloucester’s annual Three Choir Festivals in 1865. An critic in The Musical Times wrote in the October issue:

We have said nothing of the orchestra during these performances, for in truth the perfect manner in which the whole of the instrumental portions of the works were performed left us nothing to comment upon. The band, indeed, comprising the oldest and most accomplished artists in the metropolis, proved the very beest friends of the conductor, a fact which he tacitly admitted by occasionally laying down his baton, and becoming an attentive and admiring auditor.

However, some years later (1), a new light was shed on the scenario:

There were lay clerks from Gloucester who knew “the Doctor.” How they smile at the mention of his (Wesley’s)name. Here is an old Festival story. A rehearsal of the overture to “Zampa” was in progress. The band had played the final chord and yet the baton was still in action. The principle violin went up to the conductor and said: “We’ve finished Doctor.” “Finished! why I have twelve more bars.”

(1) Printed in The Musical Times, October 1899.

Cited in: Scholes, Percy (1947) The Mirror of Music. London: Novello & Company, vol. 1, p. 379.