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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

On talent, known and unknown, and at home and abroad, Anna Leese, Alexander Baillie, James Lisney and Beethoven,
with Classical Music Agony Aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Dear Alice,
Sorry I didn't catch you yesterday, but very much enjoyed the ceremony at the Royal College of Music, where your husband received his Honorary Fellowship from Prince Charles.
What did you think of the soprano in the mini-concert????
(Anna Leese)

Dear Ben,

I am still on cloud 10 from hearing Anna Leese. At first I thought: she can't possibly sing, nobody that drop-dead beautiful can have a red-hot voice. (Anna Leese is tall and svelte, with starry eyes and long red-gold hair. She looks like an escapee from Miss World.) Then she started to sing, and throughout the hall (filled with musicians, of course) there was a perceptible stir. How often, in your life, do you hear someone not yet famous, who has Covent-Garden-Metropolitan-Opera star from the first note? (Janice Watson was my last such experience: my local orchestra accompanied her when she wasn't even a footnote in opera history.)

Anna Leese

Anna Leese simply blew us away. At the reception afterwards it was all the assembled honorands and spouses could talk about. Not whether Prince Charles was charming (though he was, to be honest) or how great the food was great but how long it would be before we'd be forking out 150 pounds a shot to hear Anna Leese.

And, of course, I was v proud of Simon too ...
Yours still on cloud 10,

Ask Alice

Dear Alice,
I was just wondering, did you hear Alexander Baillie's extraordinary Beethoven cycle in London?
(I should say Alexander Baillie AND James Lisney's, forgive me!!)
I was privileged to hear this in Berlin, and was astonished at the breadth of phrasing, beauty of sound and deep insightful communication here.
And what musical stamina -- to do all these sonatas in one evening is itself so wonderful, but to have no 'lags' of concentration, to treat each movement as sculptured in itself, this was so remarkable.

Dear Hans-Eduard,

Many thanks for this. I'm so sorry to say that I WASN'T at his London concert, though one of my students raved about it. I feel sad myself that a home-grown talent like Sandy Baillie's has gone (mainly) abroad. How ironic that the world is growing smaller and smaller, yet so many soloists become 'regionalized': very few making that last leap to being well-known everywhere. And we've also lost his (apparently outstanding) teaching ability: the pay in German conservatoires being much more what such players really deserve.

What he SHOULD have done, of course, is concentrated on his football. But it's too late now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Copyright © 25 May 2007 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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