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This popular good taste, which is more deep and farreaching than the inhabitants of Mayfair and Belgravia imagine in their wildest dreams, and of which one visit to an East End Sunday Chamber Concert would convince them for good (if they have forgotten or ever knew the orchestra seats at the Monday Popular Concerts), is ready to support and carry to victory any honest effort if the rich and well-to-do determine to turn over a new leaf and to do their duty by their own race. It is not by any means necessary that the leaders should be endowed with musical taste, or should even know one note from another. They must look at the art as an essential part of national evolution and refinement, as they look at the National Gallery and the British Museum. No man need be a literary critic or even a great writer to grasp the importance to the nation of the possession of a sound and wide literature, nor need he be a painter or a judge of pictures to gauge the value of the masterpieces of great artists. If they grasp the importance of all arts as a national asset, that conviction will be enough to induce them to extend their assistance to all arts alike, irrespective of personal predilection for any one of them. Hitherto all arts in this country have profited by this spirit except one-music. It is not too late to include in its proper place that art which ancient Greece, at the climax of her intellectual supremacy, valued as high as, if not higher than, any other.
Much has been said and written, unfortunately not without dire cause, about the disastrous effects of the war upon the arts and their exponents. None of them has escaped, but music has suffered the most heavily of all. This, in view of the conditions in the past, is only natural. It has earned far less than its colleagues, and has therefore less savings from better days to rely upon. Society, however, has not scrupled to call upon half-ruined singers and players to give their services to help to swell subscriptions for charitable purposes. They have come forward without grudging, and have themselves furnished many to fill the ranks of the Army on active and auxiliary service. After the stress is over, there will be a debt to pay, not for services given in war-time, but for service available in peace-time. When that day comes, will Society turn its back on artists who were good enough for the purpose when the gentlemen with foreign prefixes and surnames were not procurable ? There is but one answer; it cannot, if it is loyal; it must not, if it is honest. If it goes one step further than obligation, and substitutes cordial support for cold acknowledgment, the day of British music will be dawning, and the sky will clear.
Another serious problem confronts the musical world, which, although not patent on the surface at the moment, is bound to call for solution in no long time. Germany has been the centre not only of production but also of publication. The commercial ramifications, which it has
. so sedulously fostered for so long, include one which is as far-reaching as any other. It has supplied the world with printed editions of the works of the great masters, and of many modern composers. These outworks will also be destroyed, together, very probably, with the stability of the firms from which they are issued. The supply of English music of what may be called the serious type-chamber-music, orchestral works and the like (and quantities of it are in existence)—are mostly in manuscript upon their composers' shelves. If the writers had been made in Germany, most of their works would have been procurable by the public long ago. Being writers in a country where publishers follow the trend of Society, and disbelieve, or at any rate argue that the public disbelieve, in British work, they cannot find their way into print, still less obtain the smallest value for it. The consequence is obvious in every music-seller's window-a row of royalty ballads. The exceptions are sufficiently few to prove the rule. When a German composer, even a beginner and little known, produces a work in his own country, the publishers congregate to hear it, and to form their judgment upon its suitability for print. If an English work is produced, the English publisher is at his own fireside ; he knows nothing of its fate and cares less. Even the favourable comments of the press will fail to move im to consider at secondhand the claims of any work which does not fall into the category of large profits and quick returns. A string-quartet, an orchestral symphony or concerto, would
be looked upon as matters far too ephemeral to be considered in the same breath as a three-verse song with organ obligato. Their author will be pitied for wasting his valuable time on visionary ideals.
This antiquated Philistinism must be superseded if British music—that is to say, the music which countsis to have its chance. Performance from manuscript is equivalent to isolated performance. Repetition alone will make a fine work tell. Repetition will not tell unless it spreads outside the bounds of the original producer. It cannot spread without the intervention of print. The more serious type of music is not appreciably more lucrative abroad than it is here. Its profits are nearer 5 per cent. on the capital that is invested in it than the 100 per cent, which an English publisher fixes as the minimum of a successful venture. Germany was content all the same to receive the smaller dividend on sounder bonds, while not abstaining from more lucrative ventures to supplement them. It saw that the ephemeral, without the lasting work at its back, would not enhance the credit of the country or the fame of its publishing houses, and became thereby the home of the celebrated editions of Sebastian Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Schubert et hoc genus omne, while throwing a willing ægis over contemporary work. But these monumental editions are gone, and can now only be saved for posterity by photography, the metal upon which they are engraved having been absorbed by Krupp; their place must be taken somewhere and by somebody enterprising enough to secure them. Why not by England, equally with Germany the admirer and devotee of those great masters?
A leading publisher in America—which is to all intents and purposes a new field for music, and a land where commercial interests are paramount—lately said that he made it a rule to include a solid percentage of high-class music in his catalogues, even if they spelt a deficit in themselves, for the credit of his house and of his country. The sooner it is brought home to the English musicpublisher that the credit of a nation's output depends in the main upon music of the highest class, not upon choral works which are only for English consumption and require translation to reach foreign nations, or upon
works written for the English Church which are unsuitable for any other, or upon ephemeral pianoforte music, or, least of all, upon worthless ballads and part-songs, the better will be the outlook of this nation in the world of art. It is not the time for ploughing lonely furrows, still less for attacking foreign firms merely because they are foreign, whose record for the production of good music is far healthier than the bulk of our own. We must do better than they, and gain thereby the respect and confidence of the musical world. The day when the chief Berlin publisher of his time was able to state without fear of possible contradiction that a good composition published in England was a lost composition, killed by its rubbishy surroundings, must, if only for our national credit, go, and go for good. By their works ye shall know them' is as great a truism as it was 2000 years ago; but the works must be procurable. War has its blessings as well as its curses.
One of the greatest of its blessings is the awakening of patriotism. Much has been written about patriotism in business, and its utilisation to give stimulus to the nation's inventions and manufactures. Little has been said about its influence in the arts, and especially in music, the wholesomest aid to patriotism in the field and outside it. To stimulate artistic patriotism is the need of the moment; we must cultivate a trust in British ideals and British effort at least as great as other nations have long shown in their own. If this patriotism has been long dormant, it is not too late to wake it. If it is restricted in amount, it can be extended. But the need of the moment is a lead, and a strong lead, not in the direction of exclusion of the best from without, but of the encouragement of all that is good within ; and, given conditions of equal ability, a preference to the men and the productions of our own country.
CHARLES V. STANFORD,
Art. 5.-THE ABANDONMENT
THE Great War will be long remembered for other things besides the destruction of life and the reconstruction of the map of Europe. On the financial side the most notable event was the universal abandonment, for the time being, of the gold standard. The abandonment, varied in extent, was effected by different devices in different countries, and was described in the kind of language that is familiar from the bulletins of defeated armies; it was not in reality an abandonment at all, but only a temporary retirement under the guidance of the higher financial command.
The two principal forms assumed by the abandonment were the Moratorium and Inconvertibility. The two forms are in essence the same. Inconvertibility is generally applied to bank notes; it means that the bankers are authorised to refuse to meet their promises to pay in gold on demand. There is, however, besides this open inconvertibility de jure, a disguised inconvertibility de facto, which may be the more dangerous because hidden. A moratorium means that all debtors (not specially excluded) are authorised to postpone the fulfilment of their monetary obligations. Germany adopted at once the method of inconvertibility, and prided itself on not being obliged to adopt the moratorium; but inconvertible notes were issued on such terms and to such an extent that a moratorium was not needed. France adopted both methods. The United Kingdom adopted openly the method of moratorium, and in a disguised manner the method of inconvertibility English people will long remember the beginnings of the Great War, when some of the London banks refused to give gold for Bank of England notes and people were forced (or delighted) to receive postal orders as legal tender. They will long remember also the advent of the new sin of hoarding gold and the new virtue of turning it out of their pockets into the banks. With the war the whole duty of the private man regards gold was declared to be total abstinence; the proper place for gold (so it was preached) was a bank; and the proper business of the bank was to hoard it. Vol. 223.—No. 443.