Weird Wills - Seeking musical fame after life

Weird Wills - Seeking musical fame after life

Weird Wills – Seeking musical fame after life

by | Weird Wills

McNair Ilgenfritz loved music.  Known for playing the piano excellently at society parties, he was a regular at the Metropolitan Opera and commuted between Paris, Newport and Philadelphia.

His income from real estate holdings gave him the freedom to indulge his passion.  In his 20’s he composed “The Hesitation Waltz”.  This is the only one of his many compositions that achieved any recognition.  Any further fame as a composer eluded him in life.

So he set about rectifying this in his will.  He died in 1953 and his will left the bulk of his $150,000 estate to the New York Metropolitan Opera.  There was a simple condition.  He wished his beloved company perform 1 of his 2 unpublished operas.

He had submitted them to the company in 1944 but nothing had come of it.  When the bequest was received, they were quickly found and the shortest opera selected for performance.  Containing only 2 characters, it would be inexpensive to perform.  It was considered a work of “professional competence” and scheduled for the following season.

However critics were quick to accuse the company of ‘being bought’ and the opera was quickly removed from the programme.  The money was shared by 8 other theatres named as alternate beneficiaries in Ilgenfritz’s will and his infamy sadly comes from his will rather than his music…..

 

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2018-06-05T07:59:04+00:00

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