60 Minutes Commits Child Abuse

Alma Deutscher - Artist's RenderingI saw that 60 Minutes profiled the child musician Alma Deutscher. I thought it odd. Very accomplished young musicians are hardly uncommon. I had season tickets to the Portland Symphony for a few years and it seemed every other performance featured some “great” 12-year-old on the violin or piano or glockenspiel. So why this child? Well, because she wasn’t just a performer; she was a composer. Oh, my! How exciting!

Now I should point out that I’m not using the word “prodigy” because that was a word that was used a lot about me: I was a “mathematical prodigy.” And I loved math. But I wasn’t interested in studying it 8 hours per day and my parents weren’t inclined to push me to do it. Instead, I spent time playing and drawing and putting on plays and generally doing anything that made me happy. I have a hard time believing any child wants to do one thing all the time. But I certainly can’t speak for Alma Deutscher. Nor would I want to. She speaks for herself, although she’s obviously been coached as much as Marjoe.

A Composer! Of 200 Year Old Music!

I was skeptical. Modern classical music is incredibly complex — even the bad stuff. The best stuff is filled with so much creativity that I had a hard time thinking that a 12-year-old would have much to offer. That was certainly true of Mozart. Nothing he wrote was really great until he was well into his 20s. (That’s right folks: Mozart wrote a lot of dreck in his early years.) Clearly, he had talent. But as with word writers, music writers need experience with life.

But I hoped that the compositions of this little girl were limited or even bad modern classical music. So I went to YouTube and found everything I could. I was sorely disappointed. She doesn’t even try to write anything from the last two centuries. Her music sounds like a precocious child’s version of the music before Beethoven. And that makes me think her performances aren’t anything more than her copying other performers. (That’s almost certainly true because it’s pretty much always true of young musicians; they haven’t had the life experience to add anything to the music.)

Great Composing Requires a Life Lived

Great composers do amazing things with their work. They communicate — in great detail. You might just hear a passage as sad, but they aren’t working in generalities. Many composers are known for putting musical jokes in their work. A great composer will tell you a story as clearly as the best writer or filmmaker.

Obviously, composers must study. Mozart studied counterpoint with Giovanni Martini, and the music he created afterward was far more interesting. But it was still years before he wrote anything I ever want to listen to.

But here’s my point: he was trying to write the music of his time. And this supposedly amazing child isn’t interested in any of the music of her own time. Most of it is no more interesting in the juvenilia of Mozart — which he wrote over 200 years ago!

The Classical Music Industry Sucks

This is not to knock Alma Deutscher. She’s a child. But it is a knock on the people who “enjoy” classical music. And it is a major knock on the people who produce classical music. As for her parents, well, I don’t know. But I suspect child abuse just as Marjoe Gortner suffered — just in a different way. I’d love to read the child’s autobiography when she’s 50.

This all makes me think that this poor young girl has been turned into a trained monkey by her parents and the classical music establishment. Almost everything she plays is something she’s written. I listened to her play a middling Mozart concerto that wasn’t really very well done. (She’s better on the violin than the piano.) Great for a little girl. Savaged by critics if performed by an adult. (She doesn’t seem to have even been told the purpose of a cadenza. And why an audience would applaud after the first movement, is unclear to me.)

There is no Brahms that I can find — much less Debussy — much much less Francis Poulenc — much much much less Elliott Carter! It’s almost all sweet music by the child herself.

What a Real Composer Creates

But I ask you, do you think the child composer of this:

Will ever grows up to be the adult composer of something this creative and great?

Not to mention Partita for 8 Voices.

I don’t think so. She might have. But not with all the adults who used her natural gifts to stick her two centuries before her own time. Sure, she’ll get better. But I doubt she’ll break from the music that made her famous. And at 16, she won’t be so cute. And if she’s lucky, she’ll have enough money that she can just quit.

Abused Child: Alma Deutscher

60 Minutes brought her on because they (and most classical music “lovers”) know almost nothing about classical music. Because they could have brought on someone like Masha Diatchenko, who at 15 actually seemed to understand the music she was playing. She didn’t seem like an abused trained monkey:

And listen to her at 23-years-old!

Maybe it’s an American thing. But I weep for Alma Deutscher. She’s being abused. And if she doesn’t know it now, she will soon enough.

Afterword

After reading this, I read the child’s Wikipedia page. It’s interesting that it contains not a single criticism, despite the fact that there has been quite a lot of criticism of her work. I suspect part of her marketing team makes sure that any criticism is removed. But there is much in there that makes the case that she is pushing against the prevailing trend against melody. This is preposterous. She has shown no sign of even being aware of current trends in classical music — or even trends over the last century.

Darius Milhaud once said, “Don’t ever feel discomfited by a melody.” I think modern composers know this. They don’t need to be taught by a precocious child. If they can be, modern classical music is over. But I don’t think it is. I think this child will have no effect whatsoever on the art of classical music. She might drag down the quality of what people listen to. Most classical music “lovers” may finally admit that they only like the music that doesn’t offend their archaic tastes. But the art will move along because of people like Caroline Shaw, even if most listeners aren’t sophisticated enough to enjoy it.

47 thoughts on “60 Minutes Commits Child Abuse

    • Sorry for me that I spend my time listening to great classical music and don’t get all wet over a child composer who composes… like a child? I think sorry for you that you would put so much stock in this child. Don’t you like classical music? Can’t you tell the difference between great classical music and mediocre classical music?

      But I suppose you are angry because I wasn’t attacking Alma Deutscher; I was attacking people like you who don’t actually care about classical music. Will you still be a big Deutscher fan when she is an adult? I doubt it based upon everything I know about how child prodigies are treated once they are no longer cute children.

      Regardless, you made no argument. I assume that means you have no argument. And how could you? Again: I did not attack Alma Deutscher. I attacked a classical music industry and community of listeners who don’t care at all about the music. Child prodigies are just a commodity to be used up and discarded. Shame on you!

      • That’s rather presumptuous of you. Also, she composes contemporary music! The classical period was a long time ago.

        • Actually, everything I’ve heard from here is distinctly Romantic period.

          Given that you seem to like her, why is that not presumptuous? I assume you were doing searches on her and found this article. And it conflicted with your narrative. How presumptuous to call me presumptuous!

          I have a long history of noting just how limited most classical music fans are when it comes to appreciation. So I’m not at all surprised that she’s very popular.

      • There are a lot of really talented prodigy musicians these days. Few composers are writing and orchestrating before they are in their teens.

      • Harumph! I love red wine. Sorry for me I guess since my favorite wine comes in a box. A vintener once told me; “Don’t be intimidated by the wine snobs! If you find what you like, enjoy it!” I do the same with music.

        • I completely agree. My point in this comment is that people don’t actually like the music; they like that it is created by a child. That’s kind of like, “I’m a big fan of wine bottles but I pretend to like the wine.” Again and again, commenters focus on the child. If she weren’t a child, they wouldn’t care. If her music had been released without the marketing of its being by a child, it would have been savaged by critics and ignored by the public.

          This isn’t about what music people like. I believe that the vast majority of classical music fans are pretenders who only listen to it because they believe they should like it. Whatever floats their boats. I’m still allowed to be irritated that a kind of music I like is being harmed by an industry pandering to tone-deaf fools.

    • Whatever you personally feel about Alma Deutscher, to balance things a bit, maybe we should include the opinions of a few titans in the music business. Maestro Zubin Mehta considers Alma Deutscher to be a genious and a major force in classical music tiday. Maestro Mehta was her patron for the European debut of her opera, “Cinderella” in Vienna. Sir Simon Rattle, current music director of the London Symphony Orchestra cinsiders Alma to be one if the World’s greatest living composers. Daniel Barenboim, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and 21st century composer Jorg Widman all think highly if her. Also. The Salzburg State Opera has commissioned Alma to compose an opera for them. Alma is going to be performing a concert of her own compositions at Carnegie Hall on December 12 with the Orchestra of St Luke’s under the baton of renowned conductor Jane Glover. Whose opiniin hokds any water? Certainly not yours.

      • I don’t know. Whose blog are you commenting on?

        Again, I return to Stewart Lee: I don’t troll the internet looking for people who don’t like him to complain. I know he’s brilliant. Why are you so insecure in your love of this young musician that you feel the need to defend her? I really don’t understand this. But it makes me more certain than ever that I was right. I’m not criticizing the musician. I’m criticizing people like you who have such low expectations of music that you love a child who composes Romantic dreck.

  1. I’m relieved I’m not the only one – but one of about three in the world it seems, who think, as you say, there is, “a child composer who composes… like a child” . This is not to take her down, but to put her into perspective. There is a lot of skill, sure, and talent, and I do think, she loves what she does. But there are quite a lot of young kids who could perform at her level, (or better?) these days, I believe. Flawless, or rather “mistakeless” playing and a nice tone are one thing, but that’s just a part of music – and she is lacking the artistic maturity which make it a true joy to listen. It’s: “Wow, good for her age – pretty – huh – what’s she doing there, okay, she’s just a kid – wow – WEIRD cadenza – okay – whatever – let’s click on a grown up pianist for real music.”
    She was super cute, when she was little, precocious and funny, but perhaps it would be time for her to retire for a while, take classes with some teacher who can help her understand music beyond her present likings, and then return to the stage later?
    I wonder, if she would not be awfully embarrassed as a grown up, if she continued performing and composing (=skillfully sticking together variations of bits of other, well known pieces in a sort of stylistically indifferent fashion?) looking increasingly silly, while people keep letting her believe she is really a great composer.
    Hey, the Beatles had WAY more true creative genius – WAY more! I’d rather compare the Beatles to Mozart for path breaking inventivenss, than Alma.
    I wonder why there is so little critique out there. Perhaps I’m stupid, perhaps musicians really enjoy playing her stuff, perhaps I haven’t listened to her really good pieces yet, but perhaps it’s simply traitorous to good music, to pretend what she does is great art.
    When I want to listen to kids, I listen to choristers, or the Trapp family, or young Judy Garland or some later kid star. But when I want to listen to real classical music I would not seriously choose Alma at present, I’m afraid.
    Perhaps one should class her with people like this Violinist-guy, Andre Rieu and such? People love him, people listen, but it’s not exactly high art, either.
    Alma’s playing makes people happy, so that’s good, but I don’t want those people to go and tell me she is a classical genius and her current music is objectively great – because I’d be tempted to ram REALLY good recordings and composers down their ears in retaliation – again and again and again, until they understand, and can appreciate, and I’d FORCE them to listen to the Berlin Philharmonics and some other good ensembles at exceptionally inspired evenings, so their minds are thenceforth spoilt for any lesser performers until their dying day!

    • I think the issue is that no established critics want to take on the heat of “going after” this child. As you can see, one person here has already taken offense to what I wrote. But the truth is, the silence the most of the critical community is deafening. Most people just don’t write about her at all. There is a huge number of reviews of Caroline Shaw’s work. I think that is because there is a lot to say about it. But with Alma Deutscher, there really isn’t anything to say. If huge numbers of people like her, fine. Huge numbers of people like a lot of dreck. It never stops amusing me that the vast majority of music played on classical music radio stations is Romantic era music — stuff that I don’t hold in very high esteem.

      My biggest problem with Alma Deutscher, however, is that I really do think that the classical music industry is committing a crime. I think that if left to develop normally, she could have become great. I fear that is hopeless now. It’s hard to have spent all your formative years getting applauded for composing this kind of music and to ever break free of it.

      But it isn’t the case that “musicians really enjoy playing her stuff.” I haven’t found any examples of this. She seems always to be performing her own stuff. (That’s not true of her opera, of course.) In general, her music is performed by her. And this has the negative consequence that she isn’t near the top of violinists and pianists of her age. So this is another way that she’s being abused.

      Thanks for commenting! I’ve felt kind of alone on this. As you mentioned: I’m not trying to criticize her. But her fame is an indictment of the classical music industry.

      • I married a piano teacher. (Marriage under construction.*). And she’s quite clear to parents: if you want your kid to be a classical music star, she can refer you elsewhere. She taught at a music academy which was about stardom, not the love of music for its own sake. Fled as fast as her feet could carry her. That place still exists, and it’s still just as horrible, hasn’t changed one iota.

        (* — In Minnesota, we have a saying. There’s snow-shoveling season, snow-melting season, and road construction season. Because when water freezes and melts, well, you know. It f-s up the road and sidewalk pavement pretty badly!)

        • It seems an odd with for a parent. For even very talented people, their best outcome is that they end up in the string section of a major orchestra. While being a flutist in a major orchestra is thrilling, I’ve never met a string player that found it any more edifying than I find my professional writing career. (They, of course, find edification outside their paying work — like most people.)

          On the other hand, music education is great for kids. It’s sad when parents foist their own dreams on their children — especially when those dreams are not very realistic.

          • Having met the family, I must confirm that it is not Professor and Dr Deutscher who are foisting their dreams on their children, but rather the other way round.

            Professor Guy Deutscher told me last month that he had had to put his own career as a published expert on linguistics on hold in order to concentrate on his daughter’s, which is taking off. He can write his next book as soon as Alma comes of age, and legally off his hands. Right now, he is her legal guardian and has a duty to safeguard her interests.

            She has been booked at the Carnegie Hall in New York in December (the entire programme is given over to her own compositions), and this doesn’t often happen to someone at any point in their careers, and even less to a teenager. There are 2800 seats to fill there, but not only do I think it is quite realistic she will get a good audience, the likelihood is that it will sell out months before the doors open.

            • > Having met the family, I must confirm that it is not Professor and Dr Deutscher who are foisting their dreams

              Met?! So your one meeting was all you needed because show-biz families never put on a show for outsiders. Regardless, where were you when she was three?

            • Professor and Dr……..

              I’d call them Mr and Mrs. Or simply
              “Her parents”

              Reminds me of Moliere

              Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

          • She doesn’t have the thousands of hours available to become a Khatia or a Perlman. She could be a quite competent orchestra musician. She says she’ll eventually have to give up either the piano or violin for performances.

      • Having met the family, I must confirm that it is not Professor and Dr Deutscher who are foisting their dreams on their children, but rather the other way round.

        Professor Guy Deutscher told me last month that he had had to put his own career as a published expert on linguistics on hold in order to concentrate on his daughter’s, which is taking off. He can write his next book as soon as Alma comes of age, and legally off his hands. Right now, he is her legal guardian and has a duty to safeguard her interests.

        She has been booked at the Carnegie Hall in New York in December (the entire programme is given over to her own compositions), and this doesn’t often happen to someone at any point in their careers, and even less to a teenager. There are 2800 seats to fill there, but not only do I think it is quite realistic she will get a good audience, the likelihood is that it will sell out months before the doors open.

        In response to an earlier comment, Alma has actually worked with the Vienna Philharmonic, has collaborated with Vienna State Opera, and has had a new opera commissioned by the Salzburg State Theatre, which she is currently working on. She was also presented by former Austrian Chancellor Kurz at a memorial gala for the Holocaust, and a few weeks later to entertain a visiting president during an official State Visit, at which Alma Deutscher set a popular song from the president’s home country to a Viennese waltz, melding the two together as a gesture of friendship between the two nations that both leaders much appreciated.

        She doesn’t trust other musicians to perform her work to an acceptable standard unless she is there to supervise them. This irritates other musicians, but it cannot be helped. Sometimes composers have foibles and are often a law unto themselves.

        Responding to the anomymous comment, the Beatles are the first to admit they were heavily influenced by American popular music arriving off the ships in Liverpool in the 1950s, and some of McCartney’s work is derivative of his father’s New Orleans jazz band – ‘Honey Pie’ and ‘When I’m Sixty Four’ come immediately to mind. George Harrison’s fascination with Indian classical music is legendary. It was a Richard Strauss lullaby that inspired Alma Deutscher to get into music. Not quite rock-and-roll, but then we’re not all alike.

        What got me taking notice was ‘The Dance of the Solent Mermaids’ – a piece for string orchestra commissioned by a festival on the Isle of Wight back in 2014, which she fully orchestrated a year later. I am familiar with the dances Sir Edward Elgar composed for the Powick Lunatic Asylum Band, when he was employed there as a bandmaster. Alma Deutscher at ten was producing music of a similar quality to what Elgar was producing at thirty.

        • ..Nobody will ever read this, I expect, but just reading the comment, and replies, and realizing that I myself must have been the “Anonymous Poster”, another few lines from (possibly very opinionated) me.

          Regarding the Beatles: Of course they were influenced by the skiffle movement, which took off in England when the U.S. folk revival drifted over the ocean, and merged folk/ spirituals with early elvis etc. – apparently there was a band at every street corner & every other living room in some places in England back then! Some playing on actual washboards or spoons.
          I suppose there would have been no Beethoven without Mozart, and no Schubert without Beethoven..
          What matters is not the initial inspiration – or even taking (knowingly on subconsciously) whole themes, melodies or songs – but what you make of these things, and what comes after.
          Without Elvis & Pete Seeger possibly no Beatles – with no Beatles probably no Rolling Stones and no quite a lot of other pathbreaking developments and off-branchings in Pop Music.
          Even though, from a technical point of view the Beatles had way less training, skill and knowledge than Alma Deutscher had a ten, they used what they had in such a way, that they wrote very original stuff, in a new style, that could stand on it’s own, and in their particular time and genre were pathbreaking, iconoclastic and vastly influential to other musicians & musical developments. (I think.)
          That’s what I simply couldn’t see for Alma Deutscher when I wrote my above comment.
          I didn’t see her purported genre – serious classical music – or even film music or anything – being in any meaningful way inspired by her compositions so far.
          (She might have made major leaps in the mean time, but I’ll just wait and see what she does when she’s twenty five or thirty – if she’s still around & I hear her name spoken in awe then, I’ll give it a shot. It’s not about “she did at eleven-what-he-did-at.-thirty” for me, but “is it good music that I need to listen to”.

          I believe, she is not being abused, but really has alot of passion & drive, but she has so far been booked, because she is a child and cute, and amazing – and people pay to watch her play – NOT because her music was really that great so far.
          Quite honestly – she is amazing in many ways & has a great stage personality – she is simply adorable – but it’s also – cringy, a bit.

          On another note: I love (quality) romantic music, and I don’t think it’s dreck. I’m a simple soul, and personally do like to listen to beautiful music that does have a melody and expression. (I’m with you there, Alma!)

  2. So much of what the author is writing is founded on prejudice, received wisdom, fashionable social theory and sour grapes. Maybe he is just playing devil’s advocate?

    I have had the benefit of meeting the girl and spending a couple of hours with her discussing music among other things over lunch. I am eager to perform one of her compositions myself at a concert. Since none of her work is yet published, this means getting the permission of the copyright holder and, because she is a minor, also her legal guardian. Anything else would be abuse.

    My impression of her was that of a very capable professional musician, already with seven years of concert experience, and was going about her work – that of making sure the orchestra performs her composition to the standard she expects – capably and professionally. Her age was immaterial. She admitted one shortcoming to me – she had never orchestrated for the harp before, and was finding in rehearsal that her scoring was unplayable. The harp needs a bar’s notice to change key, since a pedal must be worked to change all the strings round. She was changing key with every note in one phrase, which really upset the harpist. Still, we all learn by our mistakes. I suggested she listen to a piece by Graham Fitkin – an hour-long thing he did for an aerial theatre company in 2013 written entirely for the harp.

    The other thing I felt about her was that being so young is a bit of a nuisance, holding her up in her work, but it cannot be helped. Getting older is actually quite a blessing. This though is quite a common feeling among teenagers. I wanted to buy her a beer, but she asked for apple juice. I had forgotten she is only 14 and is not allowed alcohol.

    I was also raised in the same town in England that she was, and one of my nieces also has a Jewish father and and an English mother.

    It all comes down to taste. Alma Deutscher, from an early age, decided what music she finds pleasing, and what doesn’t. Nobody has any right to dictate what someone else is supposed to like, least of all when we adults go all heavy-handed on them saying that the under-aged cannot consent to what they enjoy, but must do and think and feel as the grown-ups tell them.

    I grew up with the Beatles and used to tape Alan Freeman’s ‘Pick of the Pops’ show as a teenager. My elders and betters hated my taste in music, and lamented the “youth of today” with their hedonism and lack of moral fibre. So it is with Alma Deutscher.

    She so happens to be a high romantic, a pre-Raphaelite with an enhanced sense of what is beautiful, and a determination to bring this beauty to her own century. A lot of people in high places, and well established in their careers insist that art should be about reflecting the ugliness of the present time as a form of self-expression. Alma Deutscher the teenager is rebelling against this orthodoxy, and upsetting her elders, as we read in this article. Nothing has changed there – the grumpy middle-aged will always complain about youth!

    • > I have had the benefit of meeting the girl

      So you are just being objective whereas my opinion is biased because it is only based on listening to her music. My opinions are not based on “received wisdom”; they are based on decades of listening to music and developing increasingly demanding tastes.

      I really don’t understand the people who feel the need to defend the honor of this child — especially since my article is not an attack on her but of the sad level of classical music appreciation and of the commodification of music by those in the industry. The responses to this article show that I was quite right about the former.

    • This comment by J.Morfey is such nonsense:

      A lot of people in high places, and well established in their careers insist that art should be about reflecting the ugliness of the present time as a form of self-expression. Alma Deutscher the teenager is rebelling against this orthodoxy, and upsetting her elders, as we read in this article.

      Only people that have no clue about aesthetics would argue that modern artist are trying to “reflect” ugliness. They may comment upon it, use it, and also create music that has a cathartic effect for those of us traumatized by it: Manic Depression/Hendrix, or any of a dozen Dylan songs just for starters.

      What i find so obnoxious about Alma, with her utter lack of life experience and/or of the experience of discomfort that the poor experience with her priviledged cush background, is how she keeps banging on about intolerance for melody and harmony, when in fact, she is signed to Sony and Columbia artists, so where’s the intolerance?

      For her to keep ranting about modern music as ugly is really ignorant. She has obviously never listened to Sam Barber, Arvo Part, Gorecki symp 2… She is poorly educated in terms of literature and history, and her ignorance about modern art reflects that.

      I think at this point the cult of personality that has been manufactured around Alma is composed of anti-multiculturalists who want to MakeMusicGreatAgain by eliminating anything from Stravinsky onwards.

      I loved Alma’s music until its recently. She is now doing in what Indians who listen to Indian classical music call “light classical.” Unless something changes, i doubt her music will advance much. The performance of her piano concerto that has that fun rondo in the last movment, the best part of which comes in the last 30 seconds, i was stunned that at Carnegie she had edited that part out and dumbed it down. maybe she decided the mass audience she wants would find that bit too challenging.
      And the trio she performed at the WQXR green room as a diluted version of something else with a mini theme that went on ad nauseaum, like some kind of new age pablum.

      These are dark days we live in. Imagine a future where dissonant music is outlawed, and all you get on the radio is Yanni and Alma. Its almost possible.

      p.s. for the Blog writer. i am positive she is not being put up to any of this by parents. on the contrary, when you read and watch all there is about her you will see she is a dominating domineering person, even at a very young age (look at her “man spreading” arm posture on Ellen and leg posture on Ari V’s show when she is interviewed with the Chinese musician during Bach…..When she was little, it was cute. its not now.

  3. So much of what the author is writing is founded on prejudice, received wisdom, fashionable social theory and sour grapes. Maybe he is just playing devil’s advocate?

    I have had the benefit of meeting the girl and spending a couple of hours with her discussing music among other things over lunch. I am eager to perform one of her compositions myself at a concert. Since none of her work is yet published, this means getting the permission of the copyright holder and, because she is a minor, also her legal guardian. Anything else would be abuse.

    My impression of her was that of a very capable professional musician, already with seven years of concert experience, and was going about her work – that of making sure the orchestra performs her composition to the standard she expects – capably and professionally. Her age was immaterial. She admitted one shortcoming to me – she had never orchestrated for the harp before, and was finding in rehearsal that her scoring was unplayable. The harp needs a bar’s notice to change key, since a pedal must be worked to change all the strings round. She was changing key with every note in one phrase, which really upset the harpist. Still, we all learn by our mistakes. I suggested she listen to a piece by Graham Fitkin – an hour-long thing he did for an aerial theatre company in 2013 written entirely for the harp.

    For her latest work ‘Siren Sounds’, Alma Deutscher opens with a totally modernistic sound picture – the traffic sounds of a busy city, with emergency sirens, car horns and the rumbling of traffic. Slowly, it is transformed into her heavy romantic style before becoming a full-blown Viennese waltz Johann Strauss II could have written, but the wail of the police sirens are worked into the dance. Firstly it shows that she is quite capable of writing modernistic music if she wants to, but rather chooses not to. She explained that she wanted to take the ugly sounds of the city, Vienna, where she had moved to after the lush green landscape of southern England, and make even these beautiful within her music. There is no reason why we cannot have beauty even in this century; it need not belong only in the past.

    The other thing I felt about her was that being so young is a bit of a nuisance, holding her up in her work, but it cannot be helped. Getting older is actually quite a blessing. This though is quite a common feeling among teenagers. I wanted to buy her a beer, but she asked for apple juice. I had forgotten she is only 14 and is not allowed alcohol.

    I was also raised in the same town in England that she was, and one of my nieces also has a Jewish father and and an English mother.

    It all comes down to taste. Alma Deutscher, from an early age, decided what music she finds pleasing, and what doesn’t. Nobody has any right to dictate what someone else is supposed to like, least of all when we adults go all heavy-handed on them saying that the under-aged cannot consent to what they enjoy, but must do and think and feel as the grown-ups tell them.

    I grew up with the Beatles and used to tape Alan Freeman’s ‘Pick of the Pops’ show as a teenager. My elders and betters hated my taste in music, and lamented the “youth of today” with their hedonism and lack of moral fibre. So it is with Alma Deutscher.

    She so happens to be a high romantic, a pre-Raphaelite with an enhanced sense of what is beautiful, and a determination to bring this beauty to her own century. A lot of people in high places, and well established in their careers insist that art should be about reflecting the ugliness of the present time as a form of self-expression. Alma Deutscher the teenager is rebelling against this orthodoxy, and upsetting her elders, as we read in this article. Nothing has changed there – the grumpy middle-aged will always complain about youth!

  4. You say you aren’t criticizing Alma Deutscher yet you call her music “dreck” a Yiddish word for “trash” or “rubbish.” Besides being commissioned to compose an opera for the Salzburg National Opera, the Vienna State Opera will be doing a repeat performance of a very successful series for children of the condensed version of Alma’s opera Cinderella. Obviously you have not kept up with the reviews in the international press of her sold out performances of Cinderella and her piano and violin concerti. Alma has performed in some of Europe’s leading music festivals including the prestigious Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. You are free, of course, to express your own opinion but, quite frankly, for an opinion to carry any weight, it must be backed up by fact. As I have written in a previous post some of classical music’s most venerable figures think very highly of Ms. Deutscher’s abilities as both a composer and performer such as Maestri Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, Jane Glover, and Anne-Sophie Mutter. Of course the “modernists” and “higher critics” think very little of her music because she has, by design, chosen not to conform to the discordant, atonal, formulaic music of the 21st century but has chosen , instead, to compose music that has form and melody and that is why she has appered before sold out audiences all over the world.

    • I’m not criticizing Deutscher; I am criticizing her music relative to other modern composers whose reputations are not based on their ages.

      Indeed I have kept up with all of her glowing reviews. It is telling that almost all reviews of her are (1) positive and (2) shallow. If you could get past your outrage over my not caring for the child’s music, you would see that this is an indictment of the classical music industry. And I am well aware of all the claims made that she has chosen “to compose music that has form and melody.” Of course, even saying this shows that you don’t understand modern composition, which has form and melody. Did you not listen to the Caroline Shaw string quartet? Or do you not have the time — addicted as you are to child composers?

      Finally: she is popular because she is young. If she had burst onto the scene as a 30-year-old, no one would pay to see her. Read a biography of Mozart. (BTW: Mozart didn’t compose much of interest until he was in his 20s. But his juvenilia was very popular!)

    • Late to the conversation here, but I’m guessing the “bruise” on her neck is what is commonly referred to as a violin “hickey”. Many violinists have them, if not most (I used to until I changed the way I held my instrument). And I didn’t notice overly-dilated eyes, but that’s perhaps because my eyes too are more dilated than the average person (something my eye doctor often comments on). Whatever your feelings about her music may be, these comments about abuse are ridiculous. She very obviously loves what she does – I feel nothing forced or fake in her demeanor.

  5. I agree with one thing: When Alma Deutscher is fully adult she will write more emotionally powerful music. Everything else you write is nonsense. Having written a few lines of music myself, I love her, I love her, I love her. I am thrilled that Mozart’s sister has come back to life and is stalking the land and will sweep all before her with her pencil and her violin.

  6. I have wept, danced, and laughed with this girls music. i find it very emotionally powerful. Just b/c its melodic does not mean its not. And i love John Cage and tons of dissonant post modern music. And hers is already all the way up there, regardless of her age. This is an angry cynical blog written by someone with an obvious axe to grind..

    • Now that you’ve psychoanalyzed me, perhaps we can set up weekly sessions…

      But do tell: what John Cage pieces do you like?

      One of my favorite:

  7. I timed the standing ovation at Carnegie Hall. Three minutes fifteen seconds. I don’t know enough about fourteen year old’s concerts at great sites to evaluate it. She’s learning about dissonance; the start of her Viennese waltz sounds like a traffic wreck resolving into music. She has a ten million dollar Stradivarius loaner to play now. An unrefined audience … applauding between movements of her violin concerto.

    As for her Opera, CINDERELLA, her Sullivan needs a Gilbert. I assumed the German had been badly translated, but it seems the libretto was originally in English. But the music’s nice. She’s been getting Juilliard training for years now.

    Perhaps like Emily Bear or Korngold her professional future will be movie scores to fill the pocketbook.

  8. As Alma played Ich Denke Dein, her lied, during the Carnegie Hall performance, I watched the musicians in the orchestra. Many of the musicians were visibly moved by her music. Their expressions were admiring and clearly impressed. I wonder if musicians find her piece serious enough to take note, perhaps the nay-sayers will someday realize that Alma is a serious talent and will become a serious composer of serious music.

    • Maybe. If she does, I’ll be here to say that exploiting a child and turning her into a brand is one of the ways of encouraging genius. Until then, feel free to read the facial expressions of musicians. It has a long and no-so-glorious tradition!

  9. I came across your blog after googling “Alma Deutscher criticism”, as it puzzled me that in a YouTube video suggestion of her last piece premiered at Carnegie Hall not one of the comments dared criticise her. I totally agree with what you say. I think this girl is a phenomenon that reflects the mediocrity of the audience who revers her as a “prodigy”. I find it utterly repulsive. The girl pronounces in very artificial kind of English and seems so unnatural all the time, she is an adult child and she keeps repeating she wants to compose “beautiful music”, which to her manifest musical knowledge is limited to the classical period (apparently there is no beauty in Bragms, Mahler, Wagner, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Ravel, etc). So her followers make the tickets to her concerts be sold out and clap this spectacle, as a means of backing up her “artistic manifesto”, which is that “beautiful music” is that of Haydn and Johann Strauss. She fuels this myth that she can hear the pieces in her head, and we don’t even know who she studies orchestration with, (somebody who doesn’t introduce her to the orchestral language of 20th century composers ). As a pianist she is no Lang Lang and as a violinist she is no Midori. I think she is talented but she is not the genius the marketing device behind her is trying to make people believe she is. I can see huge sums of money behind this phenomenon and what is infuriating is how adult people use her to declare war on the past 200 years of musical creation.

    • Yes, she definitely is talented. Too many people seem to miss what the critique is here. It’s about the classical music industry. When so many great contemporary classical composers are ignored and so much older worthy work doesn’t get played, it seems wrong to push a child composer who would not be taken seriously if she were 10 years older. People love prodigies because they don’t love the music. Mozart was never as beloved when he was composing great work as he was a child creating nothing important.

      My understanding is that she has been introduced to modern composition. In fact, she’s getting a great musical education. I just don’t see how someone develops past that when composing “beautiful music” becomes their brand. Unlike with Mozart who struggled when he was no longer a child, I suspect the marketing machine will always keep Deutscher as a great earner, even if the appreciation of her music is facile.

  10. I found the music of Alma Deutscher on You-tube only recently. Her talents are very impressive, but I don’t count myself as one of her many adoring fans.
    The various reactions to her are fascinating. Some imagine her as some sort of savior of classical music, a genius restoring what they see as the lost art of composing great beautiful music. I listened to what I could find of her opera Cinderella on You-tube. I don’t think it’s likely to ever make it into the standard opera repertoire, but it’s pretty darn impressive for a ten year old. Are other children this age writing operas? She is still learning her craft. Who knows what she will be composing or what direction her career will take in ten or twenty years.
    She could end up being one of the great ones. Maybe she will write film scores or perhaps leave music entirely for other pursuits.

    Some of the over the top praise from some of her fans seems silly but otherwise harmless. Some of the criticism she gets seems to come from a very hostile place, and frankly I don’t get it. She composes in a nineteenth century style, and her critics prefer a more modern style. Why do they even care? To each her own. She just writes what she likes. That shouldn’t bother anyone.

    It’s fine to not like her music, but some of the attacks have been personal. Frank Moraes, whose blog this is, has called her ” a poor young girl”, “supposedly amazing”, “a trained monkey”, an “abused trained monkey”, ” a child who writes romantic dreck”. He has likened her to Margoe Gortner, a charlatan Pentecostal preacher who preached as a young child while claiming to have divine powers. He was abused as a child. Gortner scammed people out their money by selling “holy merchandise” He was a total fraud. Moraes believes that Alma Deutscher is likely being abused by her parents though he presents no evidence to justify his suspicions.

    Not content to trash a child, while claiming to have nothing against her at all, he also targets her admirers who he describes as “tone deaf fools”. It’s not clear how he knows that they are tone deaf. Moraes admits his contempt for most classical music fans, and the classical music industry. He writes “the classical music industry is committing a crime.” I hope we don’t have to call the police. Let’s get a grip. It’s just music. He doesn’t like the classical music radio stations, because they play a lot of romantic music, a style which he ” doesn’t hold in high esteem”

    The bottom line for Moraes is that he just doesn’t like Alma Deutscher’s music which is an entirely reasonable opinion. There is no need to attack anyone over it. He complains that ” So many great contemporary classical composers are ignored and so much older worthy music doesn’t get played.” as though this is some kind of musical injustice. Mr. Moraes is fully entitled to have and to express his opinions as to what is great music. I do not criticize anyone for their musical tastes. If he is going to put down others for their taste then it’s fair to ask why we should agree with his opinions as opposed to someone else’s. Is he a composer, a performer, or a conductor? Perhaps he is. That would give him some credibility. He assures us that his opinions are based on “decades of listening to music and developing an increasingly demanding taste.” In other words he is a fan of classical music ( but more sophisticated than those low brow tone deaf fools) so we should just believe him when he says that something is good or bad. After all, he has demanding taste. He said so himself. I have been listening to and playing Jazz since high school, but this doesn’t make me an authority on anything.

    More personal attacks come from… [removed -FM]

    • Like almost all the criticisms I’ve received for this article, yours misses the point. I’m not suggesting that she is being abused in some unexposed way; I’m saying she is being abused by the process of turning her into an act. I’ll admit that the article is a tad over-the-top. But it’s my criticism of the classical music industry, not the child. It’s an argument I’ve made many other times.

      As for “trained monkey”: that’s an allusion to Amadeus. I thought it was a reference that everyone would know.

      The fact that so many people find this little page is an indication of just how little critical attention Deutscher receives. Because she is a child, she is given a pass. When people don’t show her what others consider the proper respect, they are attacked for being unfair to a child. There’s a clear double standard here. Certainly, people wouldn’t get so angry if I were equally critical of a 30-year-old musician with one-tenth as much fame. No. She must be showered with fame and wealth and treated as though she’s just some random child who must be protected. It really makes no sense to me. I think it’s as simple as this: people find her delightful and they hate that I’m killing their buzz.

      I’m unclear why you spent so much time to wade into this argument that you feel doesn’t matter. Why is it you only attacked people who are on the con-side? Somehow, it wasn’t necessary to call them out? Don’t get me wrong: I have no problem with you coming here and yelling at me. But maybe figure out what you’re actually doing. You’ve come here to protect the child star. Okay. Seems kind of pathetic. But people do love their parasocial relationships!

      I’ve edited your comment to remove your attacks on other commenters. But let me say in their defense: sometimes, people get overwrought. It’s interesting that you think everyone should leave this poor teen alone but you have no problem ripping into commenters despite having far less knowledge of them than they do of her.

      Despite your attempt to appear neutral, you aren’t. Your entire argument is simple: “Shut up unless you are saying something I approve of!” You hardly needed to say it; loads of other people beat you to it.

  11. Thank you for your reply. Let me be abundantly clear. I believe that Alma Deutscher is enormously talented, and she might have a great future (or maybe not). I don’t care about her one way or another. I am not now, nor have I ever been one of her fans. I have no intention of ever purchasing any of her recordings or attending her concerts. I hope that is enough to convince you that I am not out to “protect the child star”.

    I think it’s fine to criticize her music if you find it mediocre, and I haven’t criticized your judgement as to it’s value. I fully agree with you that her popularity has a lot to do with her tender age. Yes, you are right. Audiences love a cute child prodigy, and an adult would likely be held to a higher standard. Yes, we do cut children a lot of slack. Yes, she is being promoted by the music industry. They promote adults as well. This is hardly shocking or scandalous.

    That’s not why I wrote at such length. It’s totally OK to criticize her music. That doesn’t bother me at all . I don’t think it’s OK to make pointless personal attacks on a child, nor for that matter, on any musician regardless of age. Is it really necessary to make negative comments about her accent, her posture, her family, her middle class upbringing, to compare her to the conman Margo Gortner, to insinuate child abuse without evidence? Is it really necessary to insult people whose musical tastes differ from your own? Are people actually proud of doing that? Is it remotely rational to suggest that her fans want to ban every composer since Stravinsky and that dissonant music might be outlawed? Don’t predictions like these these sound like insane ravings?

    Some of her fans have made comments that I consider bizarre and inappropriate. It seems to me that on your blog the anti-Deutcher folks have been more needlessly negative that the pro-Deutcher folks which is why I have criticized the former and not the later. If someone slams your family, your accent, your upbringing, your posture, your intelligence, or likens you to a conman or an animal, then I will take your side.

    I don’t think you should shut up at all, and it doesn’t matter to me if we agree or disagree. As for the other commentators whom I have criticized. You are right. I don’t know them at all. I just quoted what they said. I hope that I have treated you respectfully without demeaning or insulting you. You may doubt my sincerity or motives if you like. I don’t doubt your sincerity, and I mean no disrespect at all. The bottom line for me is that people should be able to discuss music and musicians without put-downs, insults, snarky comments and assertions that sound paranoid. This is known as civility and common sense, something we should all strive for.

    • If I could bear to reread the article, I might make some changes to it. As I’ve noted, my problem all along has not been her. Any time an artform becomes synonymous with “culture,” we are in trouble. And I am liable to get ranting. I’m even worse when it comes to Shakespeare. Given my overall thoughts did not seem to come through, someday I might rework this.

      Yes, some comments are over-the-top. But if you think those are bad: there are several that I refused to publish because they were so horrible. But as harsh as people have been toward this article, it’s nothing compared to the Twitter beating I received when I complained about a live performance of Randy Rainbow. Who would have thought? Of course, in that case, I did intend to criticize him… (Actually, I like him. But I can’t understand why his live audiences don’t revolt.)

    • Thank you. For others, check out Dealing with (Guy) Deutscher. It’s interesting that her father seems to react the same way as most of the commenters here. Now I wonder whether these commenters weren’t sent here via daddy. As I’ve explained too many times, I don’t have a problem with her but rather a classical music industry that fetishized children and is still stuck in the Romantic period.

      All that nonsense about “beautiful” music has been going on since at least the 60 Minutes interview. It’s branding. And it’s probably why I wrote the article in the first place. Is Darius Milhaud’s music ugly? It’s such a ridiculous notion.

  12. First, let me say that your commentary is spot-on in many ways regarding Little Miss Alma who, for all intents and purposes, is promoted by her minions as “the saviour of contemporary music”, especially if you read all the waxed poetic on her YouTube pages. Even at sixteen she is cheeky, adorable, lovable and cuddly to these folks.

    But is her music significant? No. And I agree with you on this big time.

    You mention Mozart learning his craft until he composes music in his twenties that we deem The Real Mozart. Such is also the case with Felix Mendelssohn: the youthful string symphonies show the evolution of this prodigious talent who, like Mozart, not only revered the past, but also kept his ear attuned to the composers of his day. In this sense all good composers keep an open mind and ear for new music of their time. Whether they accept all of it or not is another story. Rachmaninoff’s idiom is thoroughly Russian and Romantic to the core, but even though he would start his fourth piano concerto before he left his homeland forever in 1918, would it have been the same concerto had he not heard the music of Stravinsky, Gershwin and Prokofiev? The same with his third symphony and the Symphonic Dances, but by this time Rachmaninoff was a fully mature artist, far and away a cry from the youthful firebrand influenced by Tchaikovsky and The Mighty Five.

    I’d like to mention four prodigious composers that Ms. Deutscher should listen to, though I’m sure she has heard one of them:

    Erich Wolfgang Korngold –
    Though there have been many prodigious composers since this man’s emergence on the music scene, including the story of the African-American pianist-composer Philippa Duke Schuyler (1932-67) which begins with great promise only to end in tragedy in Vietnam, Erich Wolfgang Korngold was one who absorbed the music of his contemporaries with great aplomb, some of them with the encouragement of his father (Mahler, Richard Strauss, Puccini and Korngold’s teacher Alexander Zemlinsky), some of them with his father’s disdain (Stravinsky and even the early pre-atonal/12-tone scores of Arnold Schoenberg). He was revered by many critics, and equally criticized by just as many critics from Philip Hale (“If young Korngold could write such noise at fourteen, what will he do when he’s twenty-eight?” in a review of his Schauspiel Overture) to Irving Kolodin (“More corn than gold” regarding the New York premiere of Korngold’s violin concerto).

    Yet in spite of his fame as a modern-day Wunderkind, Korngold’s concert music took a back seat to another kind of music he composed, namely for the cinema. Without Korngold, many feel we wouldn’t have John Williams, for it is Korngold, along with Max Steiner, Alfred Newman, Bernard Herrmann and Miklos Rozsa who brought new sounds and dimension in their scores to the celluloid screen. But the price to pay was that serious audiences did not take Korngold (or others who primarily wrote for the movies) seriously, not to mention that by the time Korngold ceased composing for the industry his music was considered passé, as the music of many modernists began to take center stage in the aftermath of World War II in the concert hall.

    I have always said that is Ms. Deutscher could compose a work of the same stature and integrity that Korngold composed at the age of fifteen:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9MGgEqTsLc

    and by the time he was twenty-eight could compose a masterpiece of this stature:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlrav6ktJN0

    And reach his apex with an equally powerful symphonic masterwork like this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1h-k8YezmQA

    Pending she gets to the age of fifty with a mature and secure voice of her own and not as some sycophant, I will simply shut up.

    Jay Greenberg –
    An American composer who entered Juilliard at the age of ten and was declared a genius by his teacher Samuel Zyman who, in an interview for CBS’ 60 Minutes (yes, they did two stories on Greenberg, nicknamed “BlueJay”), declared: “We are talking about a prodigy of the level of the greatest prodigies in history, when it comes to composition. I am talking about the likes of Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Saint-Saëns.” His fifth symphony, also composed when he was sixteen, shows a composer absorbing not only the work of such great American symphonists as Roy Harris, William Schuman, Peter Mennin and Walter Piston, but also pays homage to Mahler and Bruckner, especially the latter by way of his fifth symphony. If one hears the coda of that symphony (albeit in the corrupt version edited by Bruckner’s pupil Joseph Schalk):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gak7ujocVE (go to fifteen minutes into the performance)

    One will hear it in the coda of the exhilarating finale:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfetd5Xwerc

    He continues to compose, but at twenty-eight the prodigy status wore off a long time ago, but yet orchestras have programmed this work here and in Europe. Ms. Alma’s Siren Sounds…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0xMpLXQNvM

    …is lovely, but one can also sense that she has yet to plumb the depths of either the young Korngold or the then-young BlueJay. Richard Strauss she may love, but she has yet to even reach his status, whether as young prodigy in his own right:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e2uxAbOF2I

    …or even as the composer whose waltzes are part of this magnificent opera:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhe8gZtRAlA

    …and who even inspired this seasoned composer of the cinema:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw3uXRvQhHA

    George Lloyd –
    One of the things that saddens me about Little Miss Alma is that she has never claimed her other musical heritage, which is British. All that is British about her is her citizenship, and nothing more. But if she’s been brainwashed into thinking that ALL new music is “ugly” because “why should I write music to reflect an ugly world”, it’s a shame she wasn’t born a few decades earlier to meet someone who wrote music that is beautiful but whose life was sheer hell, and he was British.

    Like Alma, George Lloyd (1913-98) started as a prodigy as well, and by the time he was in his mid-twenties he was on the verge of cementing his fame with two operas and three symphonies to his credit. But war came to England, and Lloyd enlisted in the Royal Marines as a bandsman. It was on the ship he was assigned to where he met the fate that would forever change his life when, during an engagement with the Nazis, a faulty torpedo fired by his ship reversed course and hit the ship’s fuel oil tank. Witnessing the carnage before him with several of his shipmates drowning in the oil, Lloyd was the last one to escape from the compartment. As a result, he suffered from what we now consider post-traumatic stress disorder. After being discharged from the service, Lloyd’s Swiss-born wife took him back to her homeland where he composed two more symphonies. Upon his return to England he was commissioned to write another opera, but with all the in-house fighting during the production, Lloyd suffered more stress and retreated from the music world, setting himself up as a market gardener before returning to composing once again. Even though his music was rejected by the BBC, Lloyd continued to persevere until several of his allies pushed for his music to be performed by that august institution. Once it was secured, Lloyd’s star began to ascend, which was in the 1970s.

    Lloyd, you see, is not a modern composer in the sense of the word. Even though he heard many of his contemporaries, he rejected many of them including Vaughan Williams, Holst and Bax. His musical idols were Berlioz, Verdi, Tchaikovsky and Elgar, but yet when you hear his music there is the Celt in his writing as well as the fusion of his idols. One can hear the growth from a work like his second symphony from 1933:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lXY0i6ffZg

    …to the autobiographical fourth symphony:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huYaqONWwqM&t=364s

    …to his genial and romantic fifth symphony
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqBsMfn8fy8&t=2717s

    …to the terrors of the seventh symphony
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIokWE3-RJc

    …and the resurgence of life in his eleventh symphony, commissioned by the Albany Symphony in New York, where Lloyd’s life would finally find him wanted once again:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAnFyzowTfU

    A master orchestrator as well as a composer who wrote memorable melodies, Lloyd is now all but forgotten, save for those who continue to believe that his music is indeed worthy of performance. If anyone could teach Alma a thing or two about beauty in music, structure, orchestration and composition, it was this man.

    Quinn Mason –
    Here is a composer who is Alma’s contemporary and whose star continues to ascend. Quinn is more than just a composer who writes music, but writes with total passion. In his mid-twenties now, Quinn has composed something like eighteen symphonies, but only four of them are officially numbered. Self-taught at first, he absorbed the entire canon of the symphonic literature with great ease, and though he sees some of the symphonies as works where he wanted to hone his craft and find his voice, his first major symphony, an hour-long essay in the manner of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Tchaikosky’s Manfred and Liszt’s Faust, is a force to be reckoned with. Subtitled “The Quiet Girl”, Mason’s four-movement epic is influenced by the likes of Stanford, Parry, Stravinsky and William Grant Still:
    https://masonianmusic.wixsite.com/home/symphony-in-a-flat

    At present, Quinn is receiving numerous commissions from several orchestras, concert bands and chamber ensembles. It is only a matter of time before a major conductor champions his music. But now comes the big rub…
    If Alma’s music has been praised by the likes of Zubin Mehta, Sir Simon Rattle and Anne-Sophie Mutter, then why haven’t they performed her music? Sure, Alma and her father are very guarded by who does perform it (Jane Glover, an excellent conductor in her own right, is still not a household name when compared to the aforementioned trio this respondent, as well as Mr. Moraes, posted), but if you have those who have the name power to do something but only offer words, is that because her father paid them to say such lovely things and do nothing else, or do they want to see more from her in the years to come?

    Conductors like Bruno Walter, Artur Nikisch, Felix Weingartner and Otto Klemperer championed Korngold’s music prior to his Hollywood career, and Jose Serebrier recorded Greenberg’s fifth symphony for a major recording company. Even though Lloyd received accolades from the likes of Sir Thomas Beecham for his opera The Serf when it was staged at Covent Garden, many of the major conductors in his country (Boult, Sargent, Barbirolli, Marriner, Davis and others) shied away from his music save the likes of men like Sir Edward Downes and Sir Charles Groves. And at present, Mason is about to find his champions.

    But Alma has not. Nor does she or her father probably want to find genuine champions. They’re probably afraid that such men and women will lead her to Pandora’s Box and expose her to real composers who write real tonal music and music that has more emotional punch than anything she has conveyed, and that’s when the truth will out about whether Alma is a pretentiously precocious child who is being led astray or is someone who, sooner or later, will have to cut herself from daddy’s shoelaces and open her mind to a world she never dreamed of that will have her finding her true voice pending she really wants to be a composer first and foremost.

    • Sorry about the delay. I responded to your email, but it bounced (because of a configuration error on my part). And then I forgot to put it up!

      It turned out to be surprisingly difficult! Because of its length, one of my filters decided it was spam. I recall really liking what you said, but now I will have to re-read it. Well, in the morning. Thanks for the comment. I’m sure I’ll have more to say tomorrow!

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