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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

The most beautiful sound in the world,
with classical music agony aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Ask Alice

? 'Hi Alice,

What, in your opinion, is the most beautiful sound in the world? The Adagietto from Mahler's fifth? The first movement of Beethoven's 4th piano concerto? -- or Mozart's 21st piano concerto -- or perhaps the slow mvt of Bruch's violin concerto???

Ask Alice

Alice Dear J,

None of the above.

In fact, I am in the privileged position of being able to answer this question without undue equivocation.

Yes, I yield to none in my heartfelt admiration of Mozart's 21st piano concert, while Beethoven's 4th piano concerto absolutely fantastic from start to finish. Yes, the slow movement of Bruch's first violin concerto (I assume you refer to his first) is glorious, and Mahler's Adagietto possibly his most stunning single movement.

However, as my washing machine has been out of order for seventeen days (yes, over two weeks) I am in the (pretty enviable) position of being able to report that the single most beautiful sound in the world, without question, is the gushing, spinning, gurgling, glugging sound of a washing machine fully renewed (with regard to errant parts) and full of the will to win. I defy Mozart himself to equal same, even when he wasn't being distracted by the wayward wheels of his horse-drawn carriage or the smouldering glances of Cosima ...

Believe me, everything else sinks in comparison to the robust, yet elegiac, and rhythmic (yet wistful) timbre of this extraordinary instrument/appliance once one has been obliged to do without it for over a fortnight (don't ask).

Therefore, since you asked, I vote for, in this order (after the twisting sizzling guzzling thrill of a revitalized AEG washing machine):

2) the last two movements of Strauss' Four Last Songs
3) the very end of Elgar's cello concerto
4) Beethoven's Op 132 string quartet, the movement 'giving thanks for recovery from illness'

Pip pip!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Copyright © 4 December 2009 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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