Thursday, December 5, 2013


Mr. and Mrs. Frank Lloyd Wright (Photo: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation)
The following article was written by Betty Cass in the Wisconsin State Journal of July 30, 1935 and is reproduced in Randolph C. Hennings' book At Taliesin: Newspaper Columns by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship, 1934-1937 (Southern Illinois University Press, 1992). I reproduce it here because it reflects the centrality of music to Wright and it provides a hint of the charm with which he swayed so many clients over the years.

                                 Madison Days

... Finally, for Saturday, there was the affair of the stringed instruments.

   Just as a late afternoon peace had settled on the household a truck loaded with musical instruments came up the winding driveway to the back courtyard and dumped them beside a lily pool.
   One of the apprentices came running into where Mr. and Mrs. Wright were sitting and cried excitedly, "Oh. Mr. Wright, the truck's just come with your instruments!"
   "What?" Mrs. Wright asked, startled, a faint frown appearing on her brow as she sensed another extravagance of her famous husband.
"What did you say?"
   "Never mind...never mind!" said Mr. Wright and hurried out, pushing the confused apprentice before him.
   But in a few minutes he was back, a beatific (albeit cat-caught-in-the cream) smile on his face, his grey beret pushed jauntily to one side, affecting a gay swagger -- AND strumming on a guitar (or maybe it was a viola) like a wandering minstrel of old serenading his lady love.
   It didn't thaw Mrs. Wright, however. She merely glanced at him disdainfully out of the corners of her black, black eyes and went on with her embroidery.
   Mr. Wright laid the instrument down and went out without a word ... and in a minute he was back with another, striding with a springy step, humming to the little tune he was making -- this time on a violin held like a guitar.
   Mrs. Wright embroidered. Out went Mr. Wright again ... and again ... each time bringing in one of the instruments, each time strumming and humming a gayer, more carefree tune. And Mrs. Wright continued to embroider and remain aloof -- but when he finally came in with the last one, a bass viola larger than he was, a regular Paul Bunyan of an instrument, his twinkling eyes just peeking over the shiny brown side of the giant he was trying to strum, she could remain aloof no longer.
   She laid down her embroidery and laughed until tears ran down her face. And the crisis was over. Taliesin had been completely equipped with stringed instruments and there had been no casualties. But Mr. Wright is sorry now that he did not get a flute, too, while he was about it. It was all so easy, after all.

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