1 JUNE 1991, Page 25

Ex Cathedral

Sir.: Mr Wilton's letter (27 April) about Frederick Stocken's architectural oratorio The Cathedral has me 'confess', in my `lengthy' review, that I left during the work's first performance. My piece (Arts, 23 March) was simply the standard size; the duration of The Cathedral, if one found it deficient in musical interest, was inordin- ate. There being no interval an invisible escape was denied; my exit was as unobtru- sive as humanly possible, though like Papageno I wished I was a mouse. But if the music was so gripping I'm surprised that an admirer noticed!

The fact that Mr Stocken had been my pupil at Cambridge was plain to read on his work's publicity. I don't feel obliged to pop his cv into a review. But the concluding thrust about Mozart vis-à-vis Salieri has at least the merit of suggesting an easy way to save the world from more Cathedrals.

Robin Holloway

Caius College, Cambridge 'It fell off the back of a train.'