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The GR,-fL\.'[OPHONE

3

We should be in session from Friday evening, November 41h until Monday morning, November 7th, which would allow of seven general meetings. In addition would be a number of sec tional meetings for specialists in the technical aspect of gramophonics, for collectors of rare and early recordings, for those interested in the educational applications of the gramophone, for swing music fans, and for enthusiasts in the society movement. I suggest that the seven main discussions should centre on the following: (I) the place of the gramophone in modern life ; (2) the usefulness of THE GRA:>IOPHONE to the enthusiast, together with discussions on its reviews and other features; (3) sound reproduction and its modern tendencies; (4) the existing repertoire of l'ecorded music, and suggestions for its extension; (5) the gramophile and his problems; (6) a National Library of Recorded Music; and (7) a first-class recital of records on selected reproducers. These ought to cover the average needs of members, although I am open to receive better suggestions. Group discussions and miniature record recitals would be a feature of the conference.

Every endeavour would be made to secure authoritative speakers in each main subject, and figures well-known in the gramophone world would be invited to preside at le ctures and debates. I foresee a thrilling, if not a urtique, week-end if arrangements are made on the lines suggested. Every keen gramophile ought to jump at such an opportunity as this. I am also hoping tha t enterprising dealers and their assistants will find the conference sufficiently attractive to attend.

Now; arrangements must be made soon, so that the week-end may definitely be booked at High Leigh. This is the only weekend available until after Christmas, and as the scheme has no financial backing and no guarantors to meet losses, applications must be made shortly . It is quite possible that members of affiliated societies to the National Federation may enjoy a reduction in th e full fee, while late applicants may be charged a l i t t le extra. This is inevitable in the circumstances. I therefore ask interested readers to write to me as soon as possible. Applicants will receive fuller information as the d e tails develop. It is my hope that this new experiment will be so successful that there will be a demand for a conference annually, on even more ambitious lines, maybe. But let us first make the present effort a huge success !

W rite me c /o THE GRAMOPHONE, loa Soho Square, London, W. I .

BENIAMINO GIGLI ITALY'S GREATEST TENOR

by F. W. GAISBERG

IN the early days of 1918, Italy, like the other nations engaged in the Great War, suffered many hardships and privations.

I was there at the time, and it is no exaggeration to say that this land, normally a place of sunshine, songs and songsters, was plunged into gloom, relieved by one bright spot, Milan, where Gigli, in the springtime of his powers as an artist, was singing. He was a private in the Italian Infantry, stationed at Terni, and his voice had so captured the hearts of the critical La Scala audiences that public clamour resulted in special leave reluctantly being granted in order that he could give a few concerts.

This, to me, presented a heaven-sent opportunity, for with warfare who could tell that I should have a second chance to get him to record? It was impossible to obtain any extension of his leave and we had to rush him to the recording studios in Milan. Minutes were so precious, he had no time to change his clothes, and upon arrival at the studio simply unhooked his tightfitting uniform and announced that he was ready to sing.

He made ten records, but as the exportation of the matrices was held up, his first recordings were not issued to the world until after the Armistice had been signed. Then, as with Caruso, the records ·attracted the attention of those most astute talent spotters, the impresarios of the Metropolitan Opera House.

Twenty years have passed since he made his first recordings for" His Master's Voice," and once again in the spring I have visited Milan- this time to record the complete opera" La Boheme," featuring Gigli.

In Italy news of the Opera travels quickly, and when i t was first hinted through the Galleria that "His

Bmiam ino Cigli ill "Rigo/etlo "