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Robin Holloway

Robin Holloway, a composer and fellow of Gonville and Caius College, lectures on music at Cambridge.

Donald Francis Tovey

Robin Holloway, 8 August 2002

The name Donald Francis Tovey (always rather pompously in full) used to typify, before career musicology swept all before it, the broadly cultured rather than narrowly scholarly writer on music, sometimes browbeating and always unashamedly didactic, avid to improve his readers’ minds, popularising without condescension or dumbing down.

He had begun as a pianist of outstanding gifts in...

Keller’s Causes

Robin Holloway, 3 August 1995

In his heyday, from the late Forties to around the start of William Glock’s regime at the Third Programme (afterwards Radio Three), Hans Keller’s vehement presence was a force for the good in English musical life. He represented at a high level old-style modern values – not exactly cosmopolitan (an important reservation to which I shall return) but emphatically not insular. In general he ground a Freudian axe, and his angle on his own specifically musical repertoire – the Austro-German sonata-tradition from Haydn to Brahms, with opera in the back seat, and lieder almost out of sight – was fervently Schoenbergian.’

Letter

Overrated

8 August 2002

Instancing the triumph in recent decades of a newly discovered baroque in my piece on Tovey’s writings on music (LRB, 8 August), I cited ‘above all, the Incoronazione di Monteverdi’. I didn’t mean what was actually printed – ‘Monteverdi’s Incoronazione di Poppea’ – in my (minority) view a dull work, highly overrated, and certainly not one which...
Letter

Keller’s Causes

3 August 1995

It is sometimes difficult to persuade the angry recipient (or other reader) of a bad review that one means what one says, has thought as carefully about the weight and tone of the words as about the arguments and judgments one is making; and has also pre-empted as fully as possible the inevitable objections. In short, one writes responsibly. Every criticism made by Christopher Wintle (Letters, 21 September)...

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