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274

The Gramophone, Decembe1', 1929

another such interpretation for the gramophone i t will have the power to stir in me the memory of those moments I have loved long since and lost awhile. But all thi-s is an account of my personal reaction to the music, and ·i t may be, for instance, that some young man will get from the album of the Fifth Symphony, published last month by Parlophone, played by the Berlin State Opera House Orchestra, and conducted by Josef Rosenstock, at any rate as much as I got from those four old H.M.V. discs. In fairness to later publications, i t must be remembered that the performance by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra was the only performance of a complete symphony we had in those days, and that the great wealth of music which has been poured out during the last five or six years was unknown, almoSG undreamed of.

Another· album which appeared la.st month took me back to one of my first experiences of music, and that was the album of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concet'to, published by Columbia, with Huberman as the soloist, Steinberg as the conductor, and the Berlin State Orchestra. vVe have waited a long t ime for this Violin Concerto, and this is the first performance we have had of i t for the gramophone. Perhaps that was the reason why I seem to obtain from i t a revival of my youthful passion for Tchaikovsky's music. Not that my youthful passion was a case of love at first sight. Indeed, i t was by no means so. I never surrendered in some exquisite hour of youthful despair to the direct appeal of Tchaikovsky. I never, for instance, obtained from Tchaikovsky's music what for a year or two I took to be the final interpretation of human life I supposed I had obtained from my first reading of "The Brothers Karamazof." Nowadays, my volumes of Dostoievsky remain on my shelves undisturbed. I envy Mr. Arnold Bennett's ability still to think" The Brothers Karamazof" one of the supreme interpretations of life through fiction. To be sure, there are moments when I ask myself if Mr. Arnold Bennett really does know quite as much about human nature as I should like to think he does, and whether indeed his attitude toward" The Brothers Karamazof" may not in i ts essence resemble the attitude of a small boy in front of the conjuror who has successfully mystified him. And then in another mood I tell myself that Mr. Bennett's belief in " The Brothers Karamazof " may be the way in which his religious instinct, so ardently and so completely overcome in the matter of any credulity over the superna,tural, is compelled to express itself. I fancy that if a commission of inquiry were held into the mental state of those who in maturity still found Dostoievsky capable of stirring what, for convenience, I shall have to call their souls, i t would be discovered that all those remaining susceptible had been incapable of responding to the claims of a supernatural revelation. However, I must abandon this really unwarrantable discussion of Dostoievsky's effect on Mr. Arnold Bennett's imagination at the age of 62, and return to Tchaikovsky.

To be honest, I certainly detect in myself the symptoms of enjoying Tchaikovsky's music again, and I shall take the first opportunity of testing my capacity to enjoy Dostoievsky as a writer, for perhaps I have been suffering from a temporary blindness, and perhaps as I draw nearer to the sixties I shall find in Dostoievsky that answer to the riddle of humanity with which he seemed to provide me in my earlier twenties. Such a remark seems to indicate that I am venturing to put Tchaikovsky on the same mental plane as Dostoievsky. But however far my own personal revolt aga.inst Dostoievsky's writing may have been carried for the last twenty years, I cannot bring myself to do that. I cannot so completely rid myself of intellectual snobbery as to admit, at any rate at present, that what has come to seem the facile grief of Tchaikovsky could ever affect me with such a conviction of human gTief in any way that could be compared with Dostoievsky's former power to affect me with i t . Well I remember the excitement with which the arrival of the Pathetic Symphony in England filled the young men and maidens of the t ime. I must have been about sixteen when I paid a visit to my friends, Dick Hewlett, the younger brother of Maurice, and Wolseley Charles, who had just come over from Dublin as a young pianist of the highest promise . You will remember V,T olseley Charles as the accompanist of the Co-Optimists, and we have several of his excellent songs on gramophone records. He and Dick Hewlett were l iving in a boarding-house in Lillie Road, close to one of the entrances of the Earl's Court Exhibition. I found them one morning sitting in the breakfast-room down in the basement, both in a state of ecstasy over a performance they had heard of the Pathetic Symphony, and I remember Charles's going to the piano and playing over that melody in the first movement. I can see now the expression on their two faces when I told them that I could not hear any melody in i t . I think that if either of them could have afforded i t they would have taken me off to consult an ear specialist in Harley Street. "But you must be able to hear the melody in this," Charles insisted, as he played i t over again. However, I was firm on the subject of my inability to make anything of i t . So then Hewlett had a shot and played i t over and over to me. When I still shook my head, they gave i t up in despair, and told me the story of a baboon which had escaped from Earl's Court Exhibition and had been found by their landlady sitting in the bath when she went up to make her morning ablutions.

" Oh, Mr. Hewlett, Mr. Hewlett," she had called out as she slammed the door, " there's a big monkey in the bathroom! "

Hewlett had supposed that Charles or one of the

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