ROSEMARY Goring concludes her knowledgeable and insightful contribution on Ludwig van Beethoven ("Da da da daaa! How Beethoven changed the world", The Herald, February 5) by asking the question: "Is he the greatest composer ever?" She answers with a definite affirmative.

I would say that, if she had put the word "classical" in front of the word "composer", such an assessment would have met with the agreement of many. Ranked with such as Bach, Brahms, Haydn and Wagner, there are many who would support her contention. Ranked with Mozart there would be, I suspect, more debate.

It becomes somewhat more contentious when it is maintained that Beethoven is the best composer ever, having regard to all genres of music. What about composers such as Gershwin, Kern, Porter, and Rodgers? I assume that any debate can take place without the inference that one form is on a higher plane than another?

What factors should be taken into account in arriving at the category "greatest ever"? The number of copies of sheet music sold? The number of records sold? The number of concerts at which their music is played? How many people attend such concerts? How difficult the music is to play? How much entertainment is generated for the listeners?

It may be that there are no satisfactory criteria to determine who is the "greatest composer ever". However, I think that we can all agree with Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night: "If music be the food of love, play on '.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

Some mouse take

THANK you to David Miller (Letters, February 5) for the information on Felicity Lamport. He also asks about "creative puns".

In 1957 my late husband and I had just started "walking-out", the precursor to courtship in those far-off days. On a winter evening Jim called for me to go on such a walk but I was still cleaning out my "mouse-house". I had nine mice then and my father had made them a splendid house from a very large old radio, complete with tuning knobs.

The mice had ladders and swings and lots of things to climb and wooden bobbins to chew. Jim asked why my father hadn't removed the knobs and quick as a flash I said, so I can tune in to Mousewives Choice.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

FOR puns, aphorisms, inventive spelling and unconventional rhyming schemes, I suggest readers look to the comic verse of the American poet and humourist Ogden Nash, 1902-1971. (

“In the vanities, no one wears panities”.

“The cow is of the bovine ilk. One end is moo, the other milk”.

“The reason for much matrimony, is patrimony”.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.

Truth tellers?

ALTHOUGH there was a problem in the counting of votes in Iowa ("Iowa Democrats have spoken but gremlins delay results of caucus", The Herald, February 5), it was Stalin who stated that "the people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything".

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

Doggy conundrum

I SEE Peta has said that it is disrespectful to say that your canine best friend is a pet. Is it too soon to tell our golden retriever she’s adopted?

Margaret Johnston, Glasgow G64.