Classical reputations


Sir, – It is unusual to see Louis Spohr mentioned in the columns of The Irish Times. But as the author of the 28-page Conspectus of the Recordings of Spohr’s Symphonies, published by the Spohr Society in 2009, I must take issue with Martin Adams’s view (Classic Music, Arts & Ideas, October 2nd) that “J W Davidson was proved wrong” in his declaration that Spohr’s music “will survive until art is on its deathbed.”

Perhaps we are mistaken to concentrate so much on outward “reputation” (Adams’s word) rather than inner integrity and meaning beyond the fickleness of public perception.

How many of those who casually now dismiss Spohr have actually studied his music for themselves in detail? If only they would do so, they would find themselves set before a feast beyond reckoning.

I suggest for a start Symphony No 9, the Mass for soloists, two five-part choirs and orchestras, and the Nonet, which are masterpieces of genius in their respective genres. And perhaps too, before judgment is so dismissively cast, Clive Brown’s 1984 book Louis Spohr: A Critical Biography should be read and taken to heart. – Yours, etc,


Enniscoffey, Co Westmeath.