Letter: Coventry discord, harmony in Goole

Sir: I enjoyed Bayan Northcott's article on the large number of British composers born in 1943 ('It was a very good year'; Classical Music, 2 January). The fact that Brian Ferneyhough and I were born on the same day (16 January) in 1943 is a curious one. While students of astrology may find this coincidence reassuring, Bayan Northcott seems bemused by the considerable difference between the music that Brian and I write.

If, however, he examined a little more closely the geography involved, he might accept that a blitzkrieged Coventry could produce 'the ultra-complex metaphysician Brian Ferneyhough' with his modernist's belief in musical progress through complexity. Sleepy Goole, on the other hand, where I believe the only wartime incident involved a minor collision of two RAF planes on the other side of the river, can certainly take credit for inducing the gentle sense of irony of 'a laid-back experimentalist such as Gavin Bryars'.

Yours faithfully,




3 January