london OHice 1Oa Soho Sq uare
THE GRAMOPHONE Incorporating VOX, THE RADIO CRITIC and BROADCAST REVIEW
COMPTON MACKENZIE and CHRISTOPHER STONE
Telephone Gerrard 2136, 2137
Telec rams Parmaxto. P.ath, London
• THE competition set in March for a 400-word essay giving an account of the reader's gramophone development from his or her first favourite six records to the favourite six recorded works of the present has been an unqualified success. When I say that after a hard night's work on the second volume of this huge novel I am writing I started to read the entries at 3 o'clock in the morning and went on reading· them till 7 o'clock in the morning I hope I have suggested how interesting they all were. We have had larger entries for the competitions which did not require anything more than lists, but except for that enthusiastic rally to proclaim the merits of Bach this has brought in about the largest number of competitors for an essay. I was very glad to find that ten per cent. of the entries came from women. As for the variety, I have no hesitation in challenging any paper in the world to produce such a diversity of competitors. Whatever the success of political theorists in achieving a classless society, we have certainly managed to achieve one among the readers of THE GRAMOPHONE. Naval officers on active service, schoolboys, schoolmasters, undergraduates, house-painters, doctors, journeyman printers, indeed too many trades and professions and different ages to mention in detail. Moreover, the whole entry shows a high level, and there has been no question of judging by relative merit. In other words, I have to find the actual best without salving my critical conscience by allowing for a competitor's age or circumstances. What pleased me particularly was the evidence this competition offered of a kind of law in the progression of taste. There is hardly one eccentric course to be discovered. Some obtained their gramophones so early that they started with comic songs as their favourites, but the normal point at which most competitors started was from the Zampa and Poet and Peasant and A1orning, Noon and Night Overtures, the Sylvia Ballet and Gilbert and Sullivan, to wind up with Beethoven and Brahms, and in many cases Sibelius. So representative was the entry that I feel justified in assuming that had 5,000 readers of THE GRAMOPHONE entered for this
competltIOn there would have been no difference in the deductions, or I suppose I should say inductions, to be made.
After reading and re-reading two or three times the twelve essays I had put aside as the best I have at last decided to award the prize to Mr. A. E. Hurst, of 48 Earnsdale Road, Darwen, Lancashire, for the following: .
Gramophone experience began some fourteen years ago when I was a painter's apprentice. Although always had an "ear" for music, real interest awakened by seeing Lilac Time. The music, especially the snatches of the Unfmished, whetted my appetite.
Bought a " Fullotone " gramophone and twelve records by hire-purchase. Favourites were, the Unfinished (first two movements, one record), Liebestraume NO.3 by the Squire Celeste Octet, Barcarolle from Tales of Hoffmann, an orchestral selection from the Gondoliers, and the Blue Dallube.
Soon dissatisfied with poor reproduction, but couldn't afford better instrument. Luckily spotted THE GRAMOPHONE on a bookstall, and have been guided by i t ever since. Eagerly read about soundboxes and exponential horns, fibre needles and correct tracking. Was inspired to build my own gramophone, but made five horns and spent three precious guineas on an E. M . Ginn sound box before attaining satisfactory reproduction. This, my present outfit, has given me hours of untold pleasure. Recently heard E.M.G. oversize horn model and had the thrill of my life.
A much-prized "Broadcast 12" record of Tannhduser Overture took me to my first Halle concert-a Wagner evening. Wanted to hear the Tallllhiiuser played by a full orchestra- from l ife. I t was the first i tem-I was in heaven. Rest of evening spent in-well, the dumps. I t was finest Wagner, but beyond my appreciation at a first hearing. Concluded that to get best out of music, one must get to know it. Bought the " Phily's" Finale to Gotterdiimmerung on your reviewer's recommendation. Sounded horrible at first- no melody or anything-but after a few playings, began to like it. Have since heard i t at the Halle and was moved tremendously by it. That sort of thing happened many times . Visit the Halle about twice a year.
Have l istened-in to radio last two years. Introduced me to a much wider range of music than economically