Sir Thomas Beecham, visiting to conduct the LA Philharmonic at the height of WW2 hostilities, raised Californian hackles in the unlikely venue of a luncheon speech to the orchestra's ladies committee.
He pointed out that Los Angeles rarely performed choral music and had no opera company, no opera house and no symphony hall. He didn't hold back from extra-musical observations either - the pithy "American men work until they are 60 and then try to get educated" seems to have caused particular offence.
Pages of articles flowed. A Mrs Chamlee claimed that his "insults" were "un-British, un-American, uncalled for and should bar him from our auditoriums."
Sir Thomas responded that he was only telling Americans what they already knew. A 'musical worker' agreed in a letter to the paper, adding in the understatement of the century "so far as I know Sir Thomas Beecham has been rather caustic about many of Britain's musical shortcomings."