Earl’s Court, galleried Victorian drawing room, Blüthner concert grand by the window. Leipzig black. Around 1960 I studied the piano with Harry Stubbs, one of the RCM's redoutable Fellows but a man I found rather cold and dour. He was good at classical theory (he got me on to Schemelli chorales) ... regularly accompanied his wife, the contralto Margaret Bissett … and must have despaired at my naively pseudo-Lisztian efforts at composition which I subjected him to weekly. In a vain effort to develop my keyboard technique, spurning the need for foundational skills, he challenged me with impossible pieces. One was Ravel's Sonatine. Another was John Ireland's The Towing Path, a lovely First World War piece that I found myself castrating one smokey, damp, dimly lit Saturday morning in the presence of a retiring old bespectacled gentleman who was at pains not to disturb me – the composer himself as it turned out. Stubbs was certain I could play it. I was certain I couldn't. I left him for another teacher.
7 December 2016
The property was sold in September 2004 for £1,750,000