I THOUGHT that I could offer a reassuring comment to Roy Forder (Postbag, March 14), who implied that the Salisbury International Festival Priority Booking system meant that he would be relegated to what he considers poor seats at the back of the Cathedral for any of the three classical concerts to be held there. It seems to me that the Cathedral is laid out as it is so that sound originating from the chancel can be heard clearly in the middle of the nave (that is, two thirds down the building); so, when the sound originates from the West End, the reverse would happen and the best sound is to be heard in the ‘poor seats’ near the Spire Crossing!

Far from getting a bad deal, Mr Forder is actually benefitting from the curious rush of concert-goers to fill the expensive front seats. I sometimes wonder why they do this: after all, there’s nothing much to see. It’s not like a pop concert, with brightly dressed artists extravagantly moving around the stage; performers of classical music deliberately stand still and wear self-effacing black and white. It’s to perfect the sound they produce, rather than the spectacle, that they spend weeks and weeks rehearsing.

Many people go to hear, rather than watch, classical concerts, which is why, at classical choral concerts anyway, you may see members of the audience sat at the back of the nave, with their heads buried in copies of the score – listening. Sometimes, of course, you’ll see amateur choruses with their heads buried in their scores as well. Which, of course, is something I would never do. Never? Well, hardly ever … !

Do come to the next concert by the Salisbury Musical Society in the Cathedral at 7.30 pm on Saturday 13 April (tickets from the SMS website) and hear us sing Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Bach’s Cantata BWV 182. Both works are wonderful to listen to – especially from the cheaper seats at the back of the nave.

Nick Stiven