1'he Gramophone, .Nlay, 1930


last. The recording, too, is improving all the time. Note another of Handel's Concerti Grossi No. 4 in A minor, this time on two discs. Suppe's Light Cavalry Ove1iure, played by the Hastings Municipal Orchestra, and conducted by Basil Oameron, is a little masterpiece of recording for 2s. Another noteworthy event of this month is the issue of what the Piccadilly Oompany call their Oelebrity list at 2s. This is extremely well chosen, and I call readers' attention to this new series which they should take the trouble to investigate.

* * * I have been listening as much as possible recently to music which has not yet been recorded. On Sunday, March 30th, there was a splendid pro­ gramme under Sir Henry 'W ood's conductorship, which included the Violin Conce1io in D minor of Sibelius. Arthur Oatterall gave a great performance of the solo part, and I hope that one of the recording companies will call upon his services to give us this moving work in a permanent form. Delightful, too, were the Variations from Mozart's SC1'enade for wind instruments in B fiat, and Tchaikovsky's First Suite for orchestra would be attractive; but on another evening a performance of Tchaikovsky's Third Symphony did not fill me with longing to possess it in a more permanent form. I can take as much Mahler as is given to me; but I confess I find Bruckner rather dull, though the British Women's Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm Sargent, gave us a good performance of his Fourth Symphony known as the Romantique. If I succeed in hearing the Eighth Symphony of Mahler as well as I heard the Fourth I shall be happy, but at the moment Wilson's Eighth Wonder still shows no sign of relenting, and if the Battle of the Somme continues in my Halycon portable I shall be at the mercy of the Marconi four-valve. I am stressing the difficulties of wireless, because it seems to me a.fter a good deal of hard thinking that there will be no artistic development until the mechanical side of it is more fool-proof than it is at present, though I am quite aware that the conditions in which I live, with every handicap that an island life imposes on radio reception accentuated, make it impossible to generalise with certainty.

I have had a very interesting letter in which my correspondent points out that if people will only be content to get the London prograrrunes and will give up the will-of-the-wisp of European stations, everything would be perfectly easy and economical. That may be true if you live near London and have electric light laid on in your house, but if you live in the country and have to make your own electric light or rely on batteries being charged up for you by the local expert, wireless only adds one more to the many uncertainties of this mortal life. Moreover, wireless is essentially more valuable to people who are not living in the centre of things. I am quite aware that this is a truism, but like so many truismR it is not sufficiently heeded. My corre­ spondent goes onto say that in the near future, with the alternate progTammes in full working order, he thinks that the gramophone wilJ have a serious rival in the wireless. This is to assume that people are going to be rather more easily satisfied than I think they will be, and it is also assuming that the pleasure of commanding music like a Prospero is going .to stale. Oddly enough, I find that the effect of multi­ plicity of programmes is making me less inclined to listen. I shall probably soon recover from this mood; but the trouble of the artistic side of wireless always has been the fidgetiness and formlessness of it, and this has been accentuated by the variety of the programmes now offered. So I have no fears just at present for the gramophone's domination.

The outstanding dramatic production since I last wrote waS Brigade Exchange. It waS impressive, but with all deference to what is believed of it by the enthusiasts of radio drama I must maintain that it is a blind alley. It was written by Ernest Johannsen specially for the microphone, and this is the conclusion of the puff preliminary in the Radio Times: "His interest in radio is typical of the intelligent writer of the Oontinent, who sees in the medium an unbounded opportunity for the creative writer." Now I have been following the continental programmes lately, and I hear no signs that creative writers are paying the slightest attention to radio, and I deny entirely, absorbing though Brigade Exchange was, that it WaS anything more important tl:\an a brilliant piece of descriptive reporting. There remains in my mind not one single character. I can remember the shrieks of the boy when he was wounded, but this kind of thing has become a cliche. Of couTse, the telephone is effective over the microphone: they are first cousins. But radio drama will have to learn not to depend on the telephone if it is going to develop into anything worth calling art. It would be possible to claim that Brigade Exchange was as effective over the microphone as it would have been on the stage of a theatre, but that is not enough. You must have radio plays incapable of being as good on the stage of a theatre before you begin to talk about the growth of radio drama. I think it was Shelley who said that drama was not drama if it could possibly have been written in any other form, and what is true of drama in general as a whole is even more true of radio drama in particular. Whatever the merits or demerits of the play which Mr. Holt Marvell made out of my book Carnival, he Muld at least claim that his adaptation could only have been presented over the microphone, and he offered to radio dramatists a more fruitful field to cultivate than anything which has been offered since, except by the work of Mr. Tyrone Guthrie, whose last play, The Flowers are not for You to Piok, owing to the