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Vol. III.

MAY, 1926

No. 12

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THE London Editor declines to allow me more than two and a half pages this month, so that - I i:lhall have l i t t le space for anything but the March records and one or two topics of importance.

The issue of Berlioz' Symphonie Fantast'ique by Columbia is at once the most ambitious and the most successful example of the new recording up to date. . . Yet, as I finished that sentence, I paused to hear soine of the mid-April H.M.V. records which arrived this evening, and after listening to the record of the Fire Scene from Valkyrie, conducted by Albert Coates and played by the Symphony Orchestra, I have to qualify i t already. That record is the most successful orchestral record ever published. I t is at least twice as good as any other, and, I fancy, much more. I have had i t played through to me four times running, and Albert Coates, who a week or two ago was conducting in Naples, may die in peace with this record for a halo. As for me, if I knew how to cock a snook in print at the esteemed correspondents who have been writing to condole with me on the state of my nerves, my glands, my brains, and my ears since my rema.rk· last month about the new recording, I would do it . Oh, all you die-hards who write and tell me that you are die-hards and proud of i t , you'll be simply die-hards of hearing if you refuse to acknowledge this record as a triumph. To come back to Berlioz. One of those correspondents says that in this version his thirty violins s01ll1d like a hundred and thirty t in whistles. On the other side I get a correspondent writing to beg me to make amends for my condemnat ion of the Tchaikovsky FourthlSymphony. I am perfectly well again now, and I have played the Fourth twice through, but I cannot see my way to retract what I said. Now if, as the" die-hard" suggests, I'm " in a critical condition of mind with regard to the new recording," my ear by this t ime would have been hopelessly corrupted by i t , and I should be admiring the Fourth of Tchaikovsky. But