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the bus takes me from the Wandsworth Road through the Sunday morning quiet to the art-song study day at St John’s, Smith Square. Is it worth paying ?25 for a sparsely-scattered middle-aged audience, a jolly, wisecracking lecturer, the frigidly beautiful concert-hall, this art of Lieder, in which my interest has waned?

At the morning break I accost a shy elderly man, who knows how to deal with the coffee I spill on my jacket. But then the day comes to life for me when the lecturer discusses the song by Gerald Finzi, Proud Songsters, to a poem by Hardy. He…

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