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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Improving on Beethoven?
More correspondence with
Classical Music's Agony Aunt ALICE McVEIGH

My dear Aunt Alice -- To be sure you out-rank me in years of service to our erstwhile editor-in-chief, although I'm tons older than you are, but really I have a secret weapon! Indeed. My son, Karl is 6' 7" tall. Fact. He was such a BIG kid while growing up, his nick-name is Moose! Seriously. So, having had this attachment for some time now (possibly even before you were born) I believe I out-rank you in the cumulative Moose stats. You may, of course, happily choose Elk or some such, with which I have no known connection!!!

Yours in service,
Aunt Kelly

Dear fellow agonizer,
This was actually me having a sneaky go at the Masons, in fact, who actually (I believe) HAVE a great chief moose, ha ha.
(Six feet seven. Wow.)

Ask Alice

Dear Alice,
I was recently at a National Symphony concert in Washington, where Leonard Slatkin (who can't leave too soon for me) played Beethoven's Ninth in Mahler's idiotic version.
Shouldn't this be outlawed under the trade description act?
Disgusted in DC

Dear Disgusted,

It does seem outrageous that anyone should imagine even Mahler capable of improving upon Beethoven!! -- and also extremely presumptuous, given the care (attested to by all Beethoven's blood-stained, fiercely scribbled notebooks). I also have heard L Slatkin on a number of occasions and feel that (were I asked to choose a conductor best placed to make a sow's ear out of a silk purse) it would surely be he. However, surely the disaster in question was properly marketed as Beethoven a la Mahler, right?

In which case, frankly, you have only yourself to blame -- for showing up.

Copyright © 12 October 2007 Alice McVeigh, Kent, UK

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