Alan Hovhaness used to talk at length with me about how he
believed Francis Bacon to be the true author of Shakespeare,
that he had to "shake his spear" at society. It was a great delight
to all of us when Larry Sobol and I were able to present him with
photocopies of several original Francis Bacon letters from the
archives of New York's Pierpont Morgan Library.
The following is a letter which he wrote to the publication
While I was in London I had the privilege of reading the proofs of "The Hidden Music" by Commander Martin Pares. I concur in every way with the beautiful article, both in its premise and in its development.
From early childhood I have had a special love and veneration for Shake-speare, but felt there was a great mystery concerning the sphinx-like identity of the author. When hearing his plays, the words seemed to be the expression of at times a great and skilful statesman, and at other times a profound mystic and philosopher, a man who lived in many worlds. In the early 1930's as a very young man (sic), two visitors became embroiled in a very heated argument. One was a newspaper writer who bitterly opposed the Baconian theory which was being expounded by a dancer and poet. The words of the latter suddenly made sense to me and brought into full focus the personality and portrait of the true author. Here, at last, was the man whom I had admired and loved for so many years and who had been, as it were, my Master.
I feel certain that Bacon, the poet, philosopher, scientist, and statesman, was also a composer who used certain names for his music to which he set "anonymous" words. An example, I believe, is "The Silver Swan" by Orlando Gibbons, and also certain works by John Dowland. I hope some research can be carried out in this direction.
The experiencing of hidden music mentioned by Commander Pares in the "crypt of an ancient cathedral" is moving and evokes many parallel moments in musical history and also in my own personal musical life. This "celestial alchemy" I can vouch for in its truth and authenticity. At certain moments, in some unknown way, I have heard celestial voices rising above the music of an orchestra. It may have to do with the quality of the melody being performed plus a special kind of tone-spacing such as reinforced three-voiced divisions in strings where a kind of holy trinity of sound is created, possibly by accident, but which a composer hopes to make obliquely happen on purpose, if the acoustical and performing conditions are just right. This makes possible a kind of heavenly co-operation by mysterious forces, "those better than we," according to the Armenian ancient expression.
Of course this will not always happen when one wants it to, but it really has happened in certain passages at certain times. It is not always celestial sounds that are heard. A pupil of mine who was somewhat gifted in clairvoyance managed to release a demonic force in one of his pieces which brought out sounds from another dimension audible to all of us. These were sounds of terrifying cries of those in agony; as it were, of the damned.
An unknown world is opened up in this fascinating article, "The Hidden Music".
July 10, 1970"