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THE GRAMOPHONE Incorporating VOX, THE RADf 0 CRITIC and BROADCAST REVIEW
COMPTON MACKENZIE and CHRISTOPHER STONE
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Telelraml Parmaxto. I\ath. London
I WAS a little disappointed with the essays comparing composers with writers. In too many cases co'm petitors sought for parallels in social circumstances rather than in One parallel between a composer and a poet which may be justifiably sustained is that between Mendelssohn and Tennyson, and to Mr. John Freestone, of
One parallel between a composer and a poet which may be justifiably sustained is that between Mendelssohn and Tennyson, and to Mr. John Freestone, of
" Maisonette," Ashenground Road, Hayward's Heath, Sussex, I award the prize for the following essay:
MENDELSSOHN AND TENNYSON With but little hesitation I have chosen Mendelssohn and Tennyson for my comparison. This because both are so very typical of the age in which they lived.
Curiously enough, they were born in the same year, and furthermore both were lucky in having no financial worries during their periods of development. Recognition came early to both, and both were probably overestimated during their lives.
Tennyson was a wonderful descriptive writer, but his works show a slight effeminacy, and he could never" sound the final depths" of human emotion. All of these criticisms apply equally well to Mendelssohn. Probably in both cases this was due to their comfortable lives and comparatively pampered upbringing.
Both were masters of technique and could write with the greatest fluency. Tennyson's verses flow on without any apparent effort, and probably this facility was the cause of his missing the highest flights of his art. Mendelssohn wrote with the same ease, but never quite reached the heights augured by his early work-The Midsummer N ight's Dream Overture.
Both were products of the Romantic movement and were exceedingly versatile, and could adapt themselves to and reproduce almost any style with equal success, but neither showed an y great originality, being content to perfect the forms handed on to them .
Neither was successful in drama- Mendelssohn wisely avoided opera, and Tennyson 's plays are now virtually dead.
Both were highly conventional in their private lives , and were in a sense religious. Owing to over-popularity during the last century they a re at present held in som e disfavour, but time will find its own niche for them, and they will perhaps be regarded as fine writers, capable of giving us intense pleasure by their lyrical beauty, but incapable of moving our very souls, as the greatest writers can do.
Mr. Freestone might have added that both Mendelssohn and Tennyson made a particular appeal to the emotions of Queen Victoria, aI1d that both men were probably influenced by their own looks. Mendelssohn was the beau ideal of a composer as Tennyson was the beau ideal of a poet.
Mr. John de Klerk, of 30 Victoria Couf't Flats, Queen Victoria Street, Capetown, submitted an