The musicologists to whom Rosemary Brown’s partitions were shown have published their opinions. Here are a few. Richard Rodney Benett, for example, who is both a composer and a Debussy specialist, declared:
“We can all imitate Liszt on the piano, if we want to, but to invent a coherent piece of music which seems to go back to the roots of the composer’s style, is a lot more complicated. Here, in general, the writing is extraordinarily sure and competent. You can’t write this sort of music without years of training. I myself would not be able to do some of the Beethovens or the Debussys…”
Humphrey Searle, a Liszt specialist declares about Mrs Brown:
“Most of the pieces that she has written are very interesting from the musical point of view. It is evident also that she does not know the technique of pastiche. I have to admit that the origin of the pieces is really what she says it is. I am sure that she is perfectly sincere.”
“Of the Liszt pieces, I prefer Grubelei, a remarkable work that could very well have been written by Liszt.”
Some musicologists are even more categorical. The pianist John Lill, a Beethoven specialist says:
“I firmly believe the origins that Rosemary Brown gives to this music… Composers try to show their style as clearly as possible, but it is obviously very difficult to transmit complex works from one dimension to another. I think that Rosemary is exceptionally gifted as an intermediary. When the conditions are right, she faithfully transcribes her correspondents’ intentions…”
Ian Parott, who teaches music at Wales University, goes even further. After having studied Rosemary Brown’s partitions, he declared in January 1978:
“I personally think that this music comes from another dimension… It is really paranormal music, I don’t see any other possibility…”
He also added:
“I would select three compositions as being among the best. All three are remarkable in their way: Grubelei (1969) by Liszt; Movement of a sonata in do minor (1971) by Beethoven; and the Revenant by Stravinski (1972). Each one possesses subtle characteristics of these three so different personalities… Would a ‘clever’ trickster be capable of obtaining such effects? I doubt it!”
The hypothesis that Mrs Brown composed pastiches and that the whole business is only a mystification has been emitted. This doesn’t hold up. An enquiry proved that Mrs Brown had only just learnt to read music and studied a bit of piano. A professor, Mrs Mary Firth, who holds a diploma from the Royal Academy of Music, and studied her case, declared:
“I tested her ear for music, her aptitudes in reading it, and made her go through all of the miserable tests that professors inflict on students. I discovered, to my great surprise, that she seemed to have no fundamental musical capacity whatsoever. In other words, she was incapable of writing down a simple melody that I played for her. When I played two simple parts, she was totally lost! I would add that, even if she had been to a Conservatorium of Music and had studied fugue and counterpoint, she would have had to have had genius to begin with, then an extraordinary talent for forgery. For the Director of the B. B. C. had her manuscripts examined by experts, and it was discovered that the writing and the way in which the notes had been traced, corresponded to the way that each composer, for whom she said that she was the ‘intermediary’, did it.”
Doctor Lloyd Wepper, the Director of the London College of Music gave his opinion:
“I am convinced that Rosemary Brown possesses an absolutely authentic medumnic faculty. The music that she transmits is, quite evidently, in the style of the composers with whom she says she is in contact. A student in music can learn to imitate the style of a composer from the past, but Rosemary does not possess the necessary musical knowledge. Her music therefore seems to come from an unknown source…”
Mrs Brown was examined by psychiatrists who all declared that she was absolutely physically and mentally healthy, and perfectly well-balanced.
As for parapsychologists, Professor Tenhaeff of the University of Utrecht and his team submitted her to numerous tests. He came to the conclusion that Rosemary Brown is certainly one of the most astonishing mediums of all time. However, other parapsychologists thought that they were in presence of an exceptional case of cryptomnesia, which means that Mrs Brown was unconsciously delving into a secret part of her memory where all the musical works that she had heard since her birth were registered in a latent fashion.
It would therefore be a case of unconscious plagiarism. But this hypothesis cannot be retained, for Mrs Brown would have to have attended an extraordinary number of concerts, which was absolutely not the case. On top of which, all the musicologists who studied her partitions noted that the works that she claims to receive contain no reminiscence…
It has also been said that Mrs Brown has in her entourage a marvellous musician who helps her. And Life magazine paid detectives to try to find this “clandestine composer”. The investigation, which lasted for weeks, gave no result.
Mrs Brown claims that Einstein also sometimes comes to see her…
Before the Second World War, a young Italian from Catane, Iole Catera – who was twenty-two in 1937 – wrote music “under the dictation” of great deceased composers, notably Bellini and Johann Strauss. This young girl, from a modest family, had never even learnt to read music. Her case was studied by Doctor Salvatore Gueli, of Catane, a corresponding member of the academy of Medicine in Paris, who communicated many times about her.
She claimed “to see” in front of her, as clearly as if it were a printed document, a line of musical writing that she only had to copy onto the music paper. As soon as she had finished, another line appeared, and so on until the end of the piece. She also wrote melodies, sonatas, piano pieces, and even orchestra partitions which were played with success… The enigma that she posed was never elucidated…
There are mediums who claim to receive poems from Victor Hugo or Sully Prudhomme, others who affirm that they are in contact with Maupassant or Merimee and we have already seen the young American boy who wrote the end of one of Dickens’ books, dictated by the author two years after his death… But there are also cases in the medical domain, notably that of George Chapman, who had been an English fireman and lived in Aylesbury, a little town in the centre of Great Britain. George Chapman claimed to be possessed by the spirit of a London doctor who died in 1937, Doctor Lang. He treated people and obtained extraordinary cures.
Doctor Lang’s granddaughter went to see him to denounce the charlatan and even sue him. But in his consulting-room, she almost fainted upon recognizing the voice, the gestures and the manner of her grandfather. And when Chapman says to her: “Hello, my little Susan” and evokes memories from her childhood, she starts to tremble and can only articulate: “Yes, Grandpa… No, Grandpa…” After which, she went back home, completely overcome. A few days later, George Chapman came to see her and pointed out three objects which had belonged to Doctor Lang, as if he recognized them.
Robert Barrat, who investigated him for Paris-Match, writes:
“Several thousand sick publicly attest that they have been ‘miraculously’ cured or that their state of health has improved thanks to the intervention of the doctor from the After-Life.
In the present state of our knowledge, these phenomena can only be explained by the hypothesis of a life after death. At the end of his article on George Chapman, Robert Barrat excellently writes:
“Stripped of its body, something of man seems to continue to live in a different universe from ours, but with a few memories of terrestrial existence and the possibility, sometimes, of communicating with the mortals that we are. This is what man has always believed. In the History of Humanity, our Western civilization has been the first, for a few centuries, to doubt the existence, in the human being, of a spiritual principle surviving at the death of the body. But the pendulum of History has begun the movement back. A lot of great names in international science are questioning the arrogant dogmas of materialism. Einstein believed in a divine force. His most famous disciples think that matter could well be only concentrated spirit, and that light transmits information. Matter, energy, light, heat, thought could be only different forms of a force that some call Universal Spirit and others God.”