Magazine article Musical Opinion

Letter to the Editor

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Letter to the Editor

Article excerpt

FROM: Alistair Hinton

First of all, very many thanks for your most kind review of my String Quintet in the November-December issue, which I have just seen, having been away for several days; I really appreciate it. I am always very relieved when whatever I try to do gets through to people, whoever they are; that's all I can ever hope for, really - and when it works it is the most gratifying thing, believe me!

Robert Matthew-Walker's most welcome review of Jonathan Powell's astonishing performance of Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum says so many of the right things which so accurately reflect audience response on that historic occasion that it seems churlish in the extreme to take issue with anything that he writes.

Repeating a sadly oft-circulated legend, however, Mr Matthew-Walker opines that Sorabji was "exceptionally wealthy"; in musical notes, undoubtedly - yet in pounds sterling, not at all. As his literary executor and as someone who also took care of his day-today affairs in the latter years of his long and creatively active span - I can attest to the fact that his financial means were as modest as his chosen way of life.

Sorabji's most long-standing friend was the great English writer Sacheverell Sitwell; they encountered one another shortly after the end of World War 1 and their artistic camaraderie remained intact for the rest of their lives. Sitwell died just a fortnight before Sorabji. Sitwell is reputed once to have said that "we artists should all have a private income - and it should be a small one, otherwise we would do no work, would we?!" Sorabji's career seems perfectly to epitomise Sitwell's injunction. he benefited from a modest private income for life, derived from a small trust fund set up by his father, who died in 1932. This enabled him to get on with his work undeterred by the need to make a living as a musician. …

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