Letter: Prepared to stand up for a duchess

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am pleased, proud and moved that your writer Stephen Ward realised exactly what I hoped to convey by my music during the funeral service for Margaret Argyll ('Penniless duchess buried to frail echoes of a dazzling era', 4 August). I hope that the many people entertained by Margaret Argyll during her lifetime but who couldn't bring themselves to attend the service will have read his words.

One thing I must mention, just for self-protection. Mr Ward writes that 'the memory was enough to inspire him to play through the weakness and pain of a recent illness'. That does me too much credit.

True, I'd recently recovered from shingles, but was in no pain. True also that temporary weakness is a symptom: but the only difficult part was that I had to stand in the church pulpit to play the Schubert 'Ave Maria'. Standing while playing is, for the moment, my main problem and will be for another month. Had I been able to sit, I could have happily played all afternoon. Unfortunately, pulpits offer no place to sit. I had the irreverent idea of playing 'You're the Top', as Margaret Argyll is immortalised in Cole Porter's lyric, and 'I'll See You Again', which was her favourite song and which I've played for her many times. Probably just as well I didn't.

Yours faithfully,

LARRY ADLER

London, NW1

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