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I’m sorry if my last article as classical music critic for the Washington Post seemed “patronizing and condescending” to David Carr (Paper Trail, 7/16). Those are tough pieces to write, and, because I believe people who should be thanked must be thanked, I may have grown a little effusive.

But there was nothing insincere in my article, and I wish somebody had called me to clear up that damnable canard that I never “lived” in Washington. For the record, my primary residence was on 1330 New Hampshire Ave. NW from September 1995 through December 1997, after which I moved into the St. James Suites. I spent some two-thirds of each season in D.C. (with the exception of 1997, when I took a leave of absence to write Dawn Powell: A Biography—in Cleveland). True, I spent a fair amount of time in New York as well, for I had a wife who steadfastly refused to consider moving to Washington and, for the sake of our three children, I wanted desperately to try to keep my family together.

I fail to see the criminality—or the hypocrisy—in all this. The Post attended more classical music events from 1995 through 1999 than it had in many years. I wrote some 500 articles myself (at least 400 of them decidedly Washington-centric), and I like to hope that some of this work, at least, will remain of interest.

I, too, wish my farewell piece had been stronger than it was; that’s the way I feel about most of my articles once they’ve seen print. But please blame its shortcomings on my own insufficiencies rather than any perceived bad faith.

St. Louis

via the Internet