LETTER : Betrayal of Elgar's trust

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The Independent Online
From Mr Raymond Monk

Sir: Anthony Payne ("Listen to the music, not the words", 24 February) and the present director-general of the BBC should know that not only would any "tinkering" with Elgar's 3rd Symphony sketches be in direct contravention of his wishes, but it would also be a flagrant violation of a legal agreement between Elgar's daughter, the late Carice Elgar Blake, and Sir John Reith on behalf of the BBC.

This document, dated 20 July 1934, sets out the conditions under which Carice Elgar Blake was prepared to present the sketches of the unfinished symphony to the BBC. For Mr Payne to ignore the last wishes of our great composer is one thing, but for the BBC to do so would be the gross betrayal of a sacred trust.

Sir John Reith signed the agreement with Mrs Elgar Blake on behalf of his successors, and it follows that John Birt, the BBC's present director- general, has both a legal and moral obligation to respect its provisions.

Yours faithfully,


The Elgar Foundation


25 February

The writer is the Senior Trustee of the Elgar Foundation.