120. 13 April 1997 [ES] (Light music; Woodstock)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs. Mathew’s letters)

Dear Hayat,

   Thanks for yours. We're just off to have lunch with my dear friends Andrew Lamb, the only known light musicologist, or specialist in Unterhaltungsmusikwissenschaft, and Gerry Bordman, the authority on Jerome Kern. I've been vaguely wondering why I don't really very much care how great lieder and opera are interpreted, but find myself passionately concerned about renderings of Sullivan (tempi!), Johann Strauss II (rubato!), Gershwin (rhythm!) etc. I think it's because de maximis non curat lex; the stars can shine unaided. More positively, light music is more demotic and hence relates more to the merely human common factor. Or something like that. My poor old brain, such as it is, has become rather exhausted by wrestling with Woodstock c. 1590. Jacob and the angel was just a side-show in comparison. The play (a sort of 1 Richard II) is surely early Shakespeare, as others have pointed out (notably Everitt 1965 and our own great style critic Ian Robinson 1988 – who both also attributed it, rightly, I reckon, to the author of Ironside).

   I couldn't find much at ccciv of the Bacon book, no doubt because of the same cataleptic condition, which partly comes of counting vocabulary. My processor now incorrigibly calls the work Wordstock.

   No news except that dear Diana has invited me to dinner, on a date to be announced.

   Now I'm off (in more ways than one) and so adieu.

   best, as ever,

   yours Eric