6 NOVEMBER 1942, Page 14


sm,—may I, wall all due respect to my friend Mr. Dyneley Hussey, protest against his treatment of Benjamin Britten in your issue of October 30th? After reading his article one is left with the impression that the Michel- angelo songs amount to nothing more than a successful pastiche in the manner of Puccini, revealing at the same time the influence of Hugo Wolf ; whereas anybody who has really studied Britten's work, and not contented himself with one hearing and possibly a superficial glance at a score, will realise that these songs are intensely personal, and form the logical development of one of the most remarkable musical intelligences of our time. Nor is it merely a question of intelligence. I know that I am not alone in finding this music deeply moving. It comes from the heart, and the fact that it is writter with the utmost technical efficiency cannot detract from its sincerity.

I feel that somewhere in Mr. Hussey's mind there still lurks a shadow of that strange delusion at one time so common in this country : I mean the idea that thsre is something suspect about professionalism, and that a certain amateurishness is indicative of sincerity and reliability. It is hardly necessary to point out the disastrous results that this way of thinking has had in political and military spheres, and I am convinCed that it is equally detrimental in the world of art.—Yours faithfully,