John F. Runciman (1866-1916) was the author of Old Scores and New Readings (1901), Wagner (1905), Haydn (1908), Purcell (1909) and Richard Wagner (1913). "It is, as a rule, inexpedient to begin a book with the peroration. Children are spared the physic of the moral till they have sucked in the sweetness of the tale. Adults may draw from a book what of good there is in it, and close it before reaching the chapter usually devoted to fine writing. But the case of Haydn is extraordinary. One can only sustain interest in a biography of the man by an ever-present sense that he is scarcely to be written about. All an author can do is, in few or many words, to put a conundrum to the reader-a conundrum that cannot even be stated in exciting terms... "