‘The bonelessness of the short-distance funner’: 1974–1978
Had it not been for Ann’s influence, Montgomery might have gone downhill even more quickly than he did. Despite the reservations that have been expressed about Ann’s indulgence of him, without her it is quite possible that Montgomery would never have finished The Glimpses of the Moon, and it seems more than a coincidence that he sent the finished typescript to Gollancz within a few months of being married. There had also been a small piece of encouraging news on the musical scene. In December 1975 the BBC Singers broadcast Venus’ Praise, the cycle of choral songs with string accompaniment he had completed in 1951. Delighted by the performance, Montgomery wrote to thank John Poole, the conductor: ‘I hope you and the performers didn’t find it too dull. However, although it’s dated music, it perhaps makes a change from the aleatory, and from Stockhausen’s notation and so forth.’ 1 The broadcast spurred Malcolm Arnold into correspondence: ‘I though your choral piece on BBC 3 the other day was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard, and I am more than anxious to hear more of your serious music.’ 2 Montgomery was flattered by his old friend’s praise, and replied that he hoped music went backwards: ‘I have every hope of being an Authentic Minor Composer.’ 3 Arnold followed this by writing to the BBC to demand more performances of Montgomery’s work, but received only evasive responses.