Letter: Britten's music will stand the test of time

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is unfortunate for Malcolm Williamson ("Queen's musician in attack on Britten", 26 July) that, despite considerable experience in the musical profession, he seems unable to recognise that two-faced double dealing is a feature of the industry and not the sole preserve of megalomaniac composers.

While it is fascinating to unearth alleged truths about long and not- so-long dead composers, inclusive of all manner of sexual deviancy, it is not a particularly useful defence or justification for Williamson's "ephemeral" comment.

Like every composer, Britten's musical popularity will always be subject to fashion. Whatever sleaze is unearthed about him now will not alter a note of his scores. Surely it is hypocrisy to change our opinion of his art because he broke the conventions of morality. Since when have concepts of art and morality sat comfortably together?

If this century's most treasured British composer is to lose favour with the establishment then let it be for musical reasons. Tomorrow there will be another front page to fill with sordid revelations and captivating headlines: there will never be another Peter Grimes.

MARTIN PARKER

Stafford

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