21. 24 January 1970 (AP's Verdi discovery; Elgar)




Dear Andrew,

   If I am later in writing than I promised, that is because we have now been savouring your triumph for the eighth successive day.

   I now see how prescient it was of me to address you as D --r in an earlier letter; I had some obscure mystic foreknowledge that this was to stand for Discoverer            (which is also, as you will instantly have perceived, an anagram of Verdi score). When are you going to start monopolising the MT with details etc? I think I may be of some service to you in this at least; a mass movement will shortly begin to parade with banners in Soho Square demanding a chance of topic  and contributor. I trust you've been a able to get away with photocopies of the new material, so that you can do that very impressive thing about giving dimensions in centimetres. There's a Pythagorean excellence in precise measurement, thus (as in Tobin on Messiah) "The paper measures 15 x 20 cm". Which reminds one so strongly of Wordsworth, eg

"'Twas 15 long and 20 wide,

I measured it from side to side"

as to suggest some casual connection in inverse proportion between poetry and musicology. As to which, if I had known anything about Elgar I'd have been able to say straightaway that he says "larks" and uses w as a vowel, as in crwwwd for crude; and that at Broadheath there is a file full of cryptograms. So it pays to study the letters of the famous. Thus I have an extremely small,

but complete, collection of yours to me.

   I hope you are much better. Do you think your aliment might have been that syndrome which characterizes those who have not yet made a Great Verdi Discovery? – listlessness, pallor, lack of orientation etc . It's a very common condition; indeed, practically universal. So to be healed of it (I trust you have made the customary, though not necessarily the Platonic, offering to Aesculapius) is a budget of rare good fortune. Fortune, that is, in the sense of the chess adage that luck favours the stronger player – a remark which was very reasonably applied by Capablanca to himself; and by me to you,

   with warm wishes from all here

   yours ever