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98

The GratrWplione, .A.ugusty 1929

love. So much for the first mistake, which looks l ike a mere trifle until i t is analysed.

The next mistake is really outrageous, and i t proves that this feeble composer missed the whole point of the poem. I t is the highborn" kinsman" not "kinsmen" who came, and that highborn kinsman was Death. Highborn kinsmen sound like nothing but the sentimental Gothic vapourings of the mid-Victorian misses for whom the composer was writing. Even if the highborn kinsman is not taken to mean Death, the singular evokes a more menacing picture than the weak plural.

The next mistake is the printing of " but" instead of "for." Of course, the justification for this would be that the two preceding verses were omitted, and that "but" is a more suitable conjunction than " for" to introduce the poet's next statement. At the same time, the" but" by anticipating the" b " in beams kills the music of the words. Poe wrote "for," and he followed up the "for" with the " v" in "never." He followed up that with the "f" in " beautiful," and he picks i t up again with the "f" in "feel." The short vowel sound in " but" ruins the broad vowel sounds in "beams" and "beautiful," and though there is no broad vowel sound in "bringing" the double consonant softens the explosive effect of the" b."

The last mistake is the substitution of "her" for" the" in the last l ine but one, thereby wrecking the poetic intention of the last l ine completely, quite apart from spoiling the alliteration of " the" and "their." Surely everybody with any notion of language will perceive the value of the contrast between the cold despair of the definite article and the warmth of passion which the use of the possessive pronoun rekindles as i t were, "so that what was dead becomes alive again. For pronouncing " sepulchre" as " sep-yulchre " Mr. Walter Glynne must accept all the blame.

I t is the failure of musicians to appreciate the difference between a "that" and a "which," a "but" and a "for," which ruins 90 per cent. of the English lyrics set to music. The music of a Bong is provided, or should be provided, to suit the words. The music and the setting should express and intensify and if possible add something to that music. The words of a poem should not merely be an excuse for a musician to show off a. tune that has come into his head. When I sllggested recently that various pieces of chamber music might have names allotted to them for the benefit of the public, musicians all over the world waxed most indignant at the notion of such sacrilege. Yet musicians have committed far more crimes against poets than poets have ever dreamed of committing against musicians. I t is certainly a great crime for some poetaster to write words to a melody like Schubert's Serenade or Chopin's N ooturne in E Flat, but i t. is just as great a crime for a composer to take a poem like Annabel Lee and drape i t with his own scanty talent. The ha;bit of leaving out the name of the author of the words encourages the musician to suppose that his musical doggerel is of more importance thaD the words. I t was nothing short of impudence to call this song" Arvnabelle Lee, by Henry Leslie,T" without any mention of the poet's name on the cover, though i t is given as Edgar Poe on the inside page.

The indignation into which I have been provoked by the maltreatment of Annabel L(J(J deepens when I look through piles of so-called l ight vocal records, and note with what care th-e usually hideous names of those responsible for the words and music of some execrable piece of twaddle are included even though i t often takes as many as four of these trans-Atlantic poets and composers to produce a song. I should have thought that in this community composing i t would have been enough that the man responsible for the major part of the rubbish, whether words or music, should have b een allotted his name, and his partners included as " and Co."

And now to turn to the pleasanter task of congratulating the Decca Company on their first bulletin, which provides an exceptionally .well-chosen l ist. The price for 12-inch black-label discs is 68. 6d., for ·10-inch black-label discs 4s. 6d., for 12-inch magenta-label 413. 6d., and for 10-inch magentalabel discs 313. The discs are enclosed in a new kind of patent cardboard envelope and for every eighteen 12-inch records and twenty-four 10-inch records an album case is provided free of charge. I have not seen any of these album cases yet, but the idea is an ingenious one and I hope i t will work satisfactorily. My only Feal criticism of these records is the amount of surface noise on some of them. The fact that this varies seems to indicate the possibility of i ts elimination altogether. I t would be an immense pity if a l ist as well chosen as these Decca lists promise to be should be hampered by technical deficiencies. I must specially welcome the publication of Sea Drift by Walt Whitman and Frederick Delius. This appears on three 12-inch black-label discs played by the New English Symphony Orchestra and Choir, with :Mr. Roy Henderson as soloist. No conductor's name is given. I t is essential to secure a copy of the bulletin which prints the words in full; otherwise listeners will only distinguish a few of Mr. Roy Henderson's words, and none at all of the choir's. Another interesting record is that of a Jutish medley by Percy Grainger. This is played by the Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Basil Cameron on a lO-inch black-label disc (A.I002). I say this is an interesting record, but as a matter of fact I have not heard i t because by mistake i t was not sent to me. I am basing my curiOSity on the cOll}>osition of the orchestra, which includes a harmonium, a. celeste, a pianoforte for four hands, a glockenspiel, a xylophone, a gong, and tubular bells,. not to mention

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