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THE AUGUST RECORDS
By THE EDITOR
AMONG the profoundest illtimations of human immortality I should place the poetry of William Blake and the music of Cesar Franck; and of that music I should choose the Quartet in, D to disturb the security of a materialist. He requires no medium's manipulatillg paws, who can turn the table 01 his gramophone and evoke these celestial strains. Forgive the trite and feeble paragon, you who have tried to swim heavenward across the sweetness of The Lost Chord or Braga's luscious Seren,nde until you have comprehended at last that your efforts were as vain as the struggles of a fly in treacle. I suspect that even the most accomplished listener will not appreciate this quartet 1mtil he has heard i t several times, for, to say truth, several accomplished listeners to chamber music have told me ill days gone by that they thought the QunrtetinD verging on dullness. It may be that many of the readers who, I hope, will have been lured illto paradise upon these six black discs from H.M.V., will find them dull at first. The other music of Franck that we possess for the gramophone is much " easier" than this quartet. In this overtaxed time of ours a man may grudge thirty-nille shinings for a merely contillgent glimpse of Heaven. God! Himself f could but say" He that hath eal'S to hear, let him heM"." It is idle to go to one of those l i t t le conservatories of sOlmd and expect to find out if you like these records by playing them over once. They are for the solitude of your own room; ah yes, but they are for more than that-:-they are for the solitude of your own soul. The playillg by the ViFtuoso Quartet is the best they have given as yet. The scratch, though not nearly so loud as in any of their previous records, is nevertheless more damnable than I have ever thought it. I tried fibre, but that was no gOo'd, and so the vile SOlIDd must somehow be thought away like the sounds of this fretful world.
The outstandillg vocal record bst month was McCormack in two of Brahms' most exquisite songs. 'Ve have heard a great deal from our correspondents lately about the excellence of the Polydor vocal records, but you can take i t from me that no record of the best Gennan lieder singers can touch this one. Uke every great versatile .genius McCormack is sufferillg from the inability of so many critics to grasp that an artist may be superlatively good in different kinds of singing. I took the trouble to read several of the notices of his fin;t concert in May,