Sir: Robert Maycock writes: "There's no reason why you shouldn't play Mahler without irony" (Classical, 7 February). After a lifetime of performing the oboe solos in most of the Mahler symphonies with a fair amount of confidence, I now find I am filled with doubt. Should I, shouldn't I, must I have played these passages with irony or without it? Thankfully, as only a semi-professional oboist, my livelihood has never depended upon it.
East Cowton, North Yorkshire