Letter: America rates Britten highly

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Sir: While vacationing in the UK, I was extremely surprised and annoyed to read your article denigrating the accomplishments of the late Benjamin Britten ("Queen's musician in attack on Britten", 26 July). It contained an endless number of absurd statements by none other than the Master of the Queen's Music, Malcolm Williamson.

In American musical circles, Benjamin Britten is one of your most highly regarded composers, and rightfully so. He is ranked with the very finest 20th-century composers. Why Dr Williamson believes that Britten's private life will eventually destroy his stature as a composer is incomprehensible. If this were so, I fear that many more composers would have been lost to us by now.

I do believe that the Queen might be better served by the Master of the Queen's Music if she would reconsider his appointment and make him Master of the Queen's Sheep. If put out to pasture, he would fit in well with all the other bleating.


Music Director and Conductor

Columbia Symphony Orchestra

Portland, Oregon, USA