Incorporating VOX, THE RADIO CRITIC and BROADCAST REVIEW
London Office i0A Soho Square
COMPTON MACKENZ1E and CHRISTOPHER STONE
Telephon~ Gerrard 6098, 6099
Telegrams Parmaxto, Rath, London
In the March Editorial I said I did not feel that another vote for unrecorded symphonies, or indeed for any unrecorded large orchestral works, was wanted at the moment. A valued correspondent from Canton writes to make some suggestions which, I think, should be brought before the attention of readers in order to see how far they voice a general demand. The first symphony he asks for is Vaughan Williams's London Symphony. Columbia recorded this in pre-electric days, and our correspondent says that even with his Mark iOA he can get very little out of it. I imagine that the purchasing response to the original recording was not too generous, or else no doubt Columbia would have re -recorded it. Then there is the Pastoral Symphony which has never been recorded at all, and is there not a Sea Symphony? I am sure many readers will agree with me that Dr. Vaughan Williams deserves a triumph on the gramophone, and that his appeal should not be judged by what was an inadequate recording of the past. Now that the last of Sir Edward Elgar's major orchestral works has been given to us-I refer to the four twelve-inch H.M.V. discs of Falstaff' played by the London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by the composer himself-I hope that His Master's Voice will give some of the other British composers an orchestral show. What about a Bax symphony as our correspondent asks? I t is difficult to reach a definite opinion about contemporary composers unless their work is given as fair a chance to be heard as often as the work of great composers of the past . About ten years ago the Vocalion Company brought out a symphony by Sir J. B. McEwen called the Solway Symphony. I never notice that i t has been played anywhere at concerts, but i t was an extremely attractive work, and i t thoroughly deserves to be rerecorded. Our correspondent from Canton goes on to ask why there are so few records of American music, and puts in a plea for some of MacDowell's work to be recorded. At a concert in Canton recently, two American school teachers played the finale of MacDowell's Piano Concerto in D minor in an arrangement for two pianos, and our correspondent says that if the rest of the concerto is as good as the last movement i t would certainly be worth recording. He classes i t with Grieg and Rachmaninoff's work, and says that i t is full of romantic vigour. He also speaks with admiration of MacDowell's Tragic and Celtic sonatas. Finally, somebody's performance at that same concert of Dohnanyi's Rhapsody in F sharp minor set him longing for Dohnanyi's C major Rhapsody. Let me quote from his letter:
I feel certain that i t would sell in i ts thousands, and I can't imagine even the most austere of music·lovers resisting i ts'schwung.' Half-way through i t is marked' mit grossten schwung ': glorious! I hope heaps of people will support me in asking for this work; there is not enough schwung in most things nowadays .
Doubts begin to assail me about the key signature of the Rhapsody: I have never possessed the music. Anyway, i t's the one which contains the marvellous broad ascending baths ingable tlUle, followed by a curiously simple but satisfactory tlUle given out in single notes by the right hand.
I must confess that this whets my appetite for this Rhapsody, and with the amount of repetition in which our pianists indulge i t should not be difficult for one of them to find an opportunity to record it.
Mr. Fujita writes to let us know that he has just succeeded in establishing a Gramophone Society in Tokio called the Kokusai Record Kanshakai (The International Gramophonic Society). The first concert of the society was held in the middle of March, and by the end of the month they had already secured over 250 members. Evidently this is going to be a prosperous society, and we send i t all our good wishes, because the existence of such a society will support some of the specialist societies now being formed in this country.
Now comes another correspondent from Wisconsin who has joined the Hugo Wolf Society and the Beethoven Sonata Society, and who declares himself willing to enrol in the forthcoming possible Haydn and Sibelius Societies, but who asks why there is no proposal to go to the fount of music and form a Bach Society, and, indeed, I have been astonished that when suggestions were made for various societies Bach was not more often suggested . Here is an opportunity for other correspondents to express their enthusiasm on behalf of such a project . The same correspondent from Wisconsin also pleads for complete versions of Mozart's opera::!, and once more I must plead that i t is time for really authoritative performances of Figaro and Don GiManni and The },Ifagic Flute to be seriously considered.