25 MARCH 2006, Page 24

Memories of Morley

From Richard Hills

Sir: I think it worth pointing out that Michael Tippett was carrying on a tradition of enterprise and innovation begun by Gustav Holst on his appointment as musical director at Morley College in 1907 (Arts, 18 March). During his time there he established the choir and orchestra that performed, at Morley and his Thaxted Festival, works by Byrd, Weelkes and Purcell, including the first performance since the 17th century of The Fairy Queen. They sang Bach, Palestrina and Vittoria and premiered several of Holst’s own compositions as well as Vaughan Williams’s Mass in G Minor. Imogen Holst’s biography of her father quotes a choir member as saying that Morley ‘was a kind of heaven we go to on Mondays and Wednesdays’ — a view certainly shared by two of my aunts who were members of the choir in the 1920s.

Richard Hills Monmouth