I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

"I told you so"

GROSSE FUGE, part two. My greatest musical influence was Richard (to the right of Mrs LdP and Sir Hugh in this early sixties photo). I’ve mentioned him before. He was born in the West Riding a week or so before me and died fourteen years ago, horribly, from motor neurone disease. Remarkably, he managed to posthumously persuade me to like Wagner. Had he been living he would have immediately pointed out that split infinitive. His frankness was brutal.

He didn’t just expose me to many composers, he helped me recognise different levels of performance. This morning one of his lessons bore eerie fruit.

I needed a version of Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge to illustrate the preceding post and YouTube listed one by the Takacs Qt. Now world-renowned, the Takacs were formed in 1975 and within a year Richard urged me to one of their concerts at the Wigmore Hall. They remained one of his favourites.

I clicked on YouTube and the Takacs’ opening of the GF matched the ideal performance rattling round in my skull. Later I needed to check the work further and played my own CD by the Alban Berg Qt. Richard had sold me that particular CD, saying he didn’t like it, it was too smooth. “The Grosse Fuge needs a sense of struggle,” he said.

I thought he was fussy, thought I could easily live with the Alban Berg. Played it this morning but I won’t play it again. Too smooth. Twenty years after he warned me I’ve got around to his way of thinking. I’ll probably buy the Takacs. As a memorial to his judgment? Nah, he wouldn’t like that. He was from Shipley.

NOTE: Mrs LdP tells me she had "just" become pregnant at the time.


  1. Á propos of nothing in this post; you mentioned earlier how great folk tunes can be come classics.
    Mrs Avus and I, having a quiet Christmas afternoon, happened on a fascinating BBC TV documentary on Hubert Parry, fronted by Prince Charles who is a recent fan, apparently.
    The manner in which David Owen Norris metaphorically laid out "Jerusalem" (which he maintains has become a folk tune) on the operating table of his piano and then proceeded to dissect its words and music was a serendipity.
    Still 3 days left on BBC iPlayer should you have missed it.


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  3. Avus: Parry certainly needs a bit of rehabilitation. He was of course popular when the nineteenth became the twentieth century and when GBS, writing music criticism as Corno di Bassetto, was running a campaign in Britain to get Wagner accepted. GBS being GBS sought to attack what he considered as pygmy figures who were getting in the way of Wagner and one of his memorable phrases was to say that Parry was "sickening for another oratorio". If I have time I'll have a go at that link. After all, if my new ecumenicism extends as far as The Specials it should be equally even-handed about Parry. In my own defence I should add I did buy a couple of symphonies by one of Parry's contemporaries, Stanford. Played 'em once and their memory has disappeared into the ether.

    I should also add I appreciate your interest in the fledgling Tone Deaf.

  4. Tone Deaf has been a pleasant surprise LdP (BB was easier!)

    I have enjoyed "Works Well" so much I feared that the transmutation would not be for me.

    I miss WW, but am finding new interests from your writing - which was one of your intentions, I think.