OBITUARY: PAUL HORGAN
Saturday 25 March 1995
In 1970, 25 years after Baring's death, Horgan edited a selection of his work in Maurice Baring Restored. The perspective Horgan provided in his elegant, extended introduction was an important addition to the biography published by the composer Ethel Smyth in 1938, and forms the bridge between that book and Emma Letley's full biography published in 1991. Horgan's deep-rooted Roman Catholicism makes him a most interesting student of Baring as a "Catholic novelist".
Horgan includes a section on "Good Things", maxims plucked from Baring's work. And one of these - that "The culture imbibed from the air is the best culture" - from Have You Anything to Declare? (1936), could be taken as a key to Horgan's life. It certainly chimes with the character of Horgan's Encounters with Stravinsky. The book shows how Stravinsky was woven through the fabric of Horgan's "earliest discoveries of the essential style of my century", when in 1920 Horgan first read Stravinsky's name in an issue of the Dial, and became entranced by the legend of the commotion at the first performance of Le Sacre du printemps.
Nearly 40 years later, Horgan was President of Santa Fe Opera, and between 1958 and 1963 Stravinsky collaborated in the production at Santa Fe of six of his works - including The Rake's Progress and Oedipus Rex. It was an extraordinary coup: the darling of fin-de-sicle Paris had come to post-war New Mexico; an event which was at once symbolic of and dependent on Paul Horgan's influence as a man of transatlantic culture.
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