Letter to the Daily Telegraph: January 27th 1934

 

The B.B.C. and British Music

Mr. E.J.Moeran writes to comment on the B.B.C.’s recent concerts of British music, and on our article arising therefrom, of last Saturday. He says:

"It is easy to criticise, and, after all, the B.B.C. deserves praise for what it has done, But I heartily agree that we ought to get back to the old system at the ‘Proms’.

"Works that prove their merit at the ‘Proms’ should be repeated at the winter symphony concerts - but not segregated.

"With one line of argument I distinctly do not agree, and that is the suggestion that the fact of a man’s being a professor at the R.A.M. or R.C.M. entitles his works to a hearing at Queen’s Hall. In the dreadful old days the Philharmonic used automatically to produce whatever orchestral stuff the bigwigs of the Academy and the College turned out. We don’t want the B.B.C. to land us back into that.

"It was a pity an opportunity was not found to include something by Jacob, and I should have liked to hear something by Finzi, Rubbra and Elizabeth Maconchy, who seem to claim attention more than anyone else of that generation. It is high time Miss Maconchy’s fine work, ‘The Land’, was heard again.

"A serious omission from the programme was the name of Edward German. He is interesting historically, apart from the value of his music. In the 1890s, when others were purveying second-hand Brahms, German was producing symphonies and suites with a distinctly English flavour and original character.

"Peter Warlock should have been given a place. He was our outstanding song-writer since the Tudors. I should have represented Cyril Scott by his piano concerto; it is Scott at his high-water mark, and is not widely enough known."


Notes

Gerald Finzi, English composer 1901-1956

Edmund Rubbra, English composer 1901-1986

Elizabeth Maconchy, English composer d.1990

Edward German, English composer, famous for his opera ‘Merrie England’.

 

 

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In the dreadful old days the Philharmonic used automatically to produce whatever orchestral stuff the bigwigs of the Academy and the College turned out...