Extract from "Hinrichsen's Musical Year Book 1949-50"

"The Composer and Society":
replies to a questionnaire by Robert L. Jacobs

1. What do you think is the minimum income a composer needs in order to live in such a way that he can do justice to his art?

Mr. Moeran remarked that it was purely an individual matter that a composer may need luxury, as Wagner did, or "do just as well in a dingy bed-sitting room or...in a caravan or houseboat", and that accordingly the question was unanswerable.

2. Do you think is is possible to earn this sum by composing?
3. If not, what is the most suitable way for a composer to supplement his income?

"...Some job as a keeper of a level-crossing on a branch line, with only four or five trains daily and a good cottage thrown in," replied Mr. Moeran: but if the composer preferred "the bustle of town life", then musical criticism.

4. Do you think the State of any other institution should do more for composers (e.g. subsidize individuals, promote performances, commission works, etc.) and if so, how?

Mr. Moeran suggested reducing entertainment tax at concerts in which "either a certain amount of time is devoted to British music or...a major British work performed", and furthermore making the entry and right to earn fees of a foreign artist conditional upon his performing a proportion of british music. He also felt that a Ministry of Fine Arts, provided it could be kept free of party politics, might do good.

5. Have you any specific advice to give to young people who wish to earn their living by composing?

"Study the technique necessary to compose incidental music".

©2011 The Worldwide Moeran Database

 

 

...Some job as a keeper of a level-crossing on a branch line, with only four or five trains daily and a good cottage thrown in...