London Offia 10A Soho Square

London W;1

Edited by


Telephone Gerrard 609B, 60.'~9

Telegrams Parmaxto, Rath, London

Vol. IX.


No. 10'1


I HAVE sometimes felt that \-ve have not paid sufficient attention in THE GHAMOPHONE to the activities of the various Gramophone Societies which are to be found all over the country. We did once upon a t ime devote a certain amount of space to the reports of Gramophone Societies, but we found that they tended to become monotonous, and readers who were not m~mbers of the particular gramophone societies whose programmes we had been printing were bored with this feature. There were always one or two reports which stood out from the others, but i t would have been invidious to give space to a gramophone society merely because i ts secretary happened to be able to write interestingly. The older I get, the more J realize that the success of any organized entertainment will depend ultimately on the secretary. Had every gramophone society been able to produce a secretary who knew how to tell other people in an interesting way what his own people ,vere doing, we might never have had to abandon that feature. I am led into making these remarks by receiving from Mr. J. D. Taylor, the honorary recording secretary of the Liverpool and District Gramophone Society, the syllabus of the forthcoming session. I take a particular interest in the Liverpool Gramophone Society because I have the honour to be the patron of i t , and 1 have never forgotten a delightful evening J once spent at one of i ts recitals. But whatever my personal interest, I should certainly hold up the Liverpool Gramophone Society as a model. The fact that i t was founded so long ago as January 1913, that the forthcoming is the twentieth session, and that the secretary is able to write to me, "We have circularized some thousands of people in the Liverpool District, and this session should see us, in addition to being the oldest, one of the largest gramophone societies," is sufficient evidence of the competency with which the Liverp001 Gramophone Society has been run. In the Rushwol,th Hall, where the gatherings are held, the Society has the ideal hall for a gramophone recital, and I remember i t among the innumerable places where I have spoken during the last few years as one of the easiest for aspeaker to get into quick touch with his audience. The other night at a public dinner I was saying to a neighbour' of mine that somebody of ubiquitous eloquence should write his impressions of the various halls, theatres, concert-rooms, churches, and chapels in which he had spoken. I find myself that so often the live audience is hlamed'for what are really the sins of a dead architect. We so often hear that this or that audience is warm or cold, easy or difficult, quick or slow; but what really is one or other of these adjectives is the building in which the audience is seated. What is true of an individual speaker is equally true of the musical performer or performers. One of the most trying places in which anybody may speak is the Inverness Town Hall, and, of course, i t is equally bad for music. Now, I have heard people call an Inverness audience unresponsive, but I am sure that those who have found i t seemingly unresponsive have not realized to what an extent an audience may be handicapped by i ts surroundings. One of the easiest places in which I ever spoke was a Congregational church in Liverpool, and I remember thinking while I was speaking what a wonderful place i t would be for a String Quartet. The extra fatigue imposed upon a speaker or performer by bad acoustics is most destructive. Nobody can improvise with real brilliance who is forcing his voice all the time. It is as difficult to be brilliant in a foreign language that one speaks imperfectly, and I am sure that many a pianist and many a violinist must have forced his tone at the expense of his phrasing and to the ruin of his emotional force. What applies to public halls applies equally to private houses, and i t always surprises me to find what comparatively l i t t le consideration gramophone users devote to the placing of their instruments. However, I did not set out to talk about acoustics, but about gramophone societies, and the Liverpool Gramophone Society in particular.

I have just received from the recording secretary the syllabus of their forthcoming session, and I must congratulate the Society on the interesting programme before them this winter. Members make themselves responsible for most of the Monday evenings, but there are some lecture recitals by well-known outsiders to lighten the strain on the local impresarios. I notice one in particular by Mr. Goss-Custard, the organist of Liverpool Cathedral, who is well known all over the world as one of the most successful recorders of the organ. He is to lecture on some difficulties in organ recording, and I feel inclined as Editor to ask if we might not have the benefit of this lecture in the pages of THE GRAMOPHONE. Another evening is tobe devoted