The conductor Kurt Masur died today. Some will remember him because they own his mediocre recordings. I will remember him as the pompous asshole who, in 1996, embarrassed the New York Philharmonic by stipulating that a work commissioned by the orchestra from Elliott Carter would be performed only if he (Masur) personally approves it.
Coming from a time-beater who, as far as I know, had conducted not a note of contemporary music more complex than the minimalist platitudes of John Adams or the numbing pieties of Sofia Gubaidulina, Masur's demand was not just rude, it was grotesque. Naturally Carter refused the commission on such insulting terms. The cancelled commission was taken over by the Cleveland Orchestra which premiered the finished work, Allegro scorrevole, the following year under Christoph von Dohnanyi. This composition later became the third movement of Carter's magnificent Symphonia.