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Vol. IV.

AUGUST, 1926


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Where is h e l iving, clipp'd in with the sea That chides the banks of England, Scotland, 'Valei', Which calls m e pupil, or hath r ead to me ? And bring him ont tha,t is but woman's so n <'an t i'uch m e ill the tedions way~ of art And hold me pac e in d eep experiments.

THUS Owen Glendower in the play, not, as you might suppose, Mr. Newman in the Sundcty Tirnes. But let me quote his actual words:

The undeveloped state of English criticism rna,y be gauged from the pontifical a ssurance with which ow' Ill en of letters, and esp eciall y the minor novelists , deliver their opinion upon music. The.', like o t her men, are, as I have said, entitled to their l ikes and dislikes. But- music is, in t·he first place , a highly technical art, and, in the second place, there is not a critical problem connceted with i t that does not r eq uiTe to be seen against a vast background of history a nd wstheties . I t is no r eproach against our men of le t ters tha,t they ha,-e n eith e r this t echnique nor t,his backg round. Our only r epro ach against them i~ that they will meddle with complex Il1uRiral quest ions that tll e.y do not understand, instead of. keeping to the writing of novels or some other equally eass form of malluallabOl:r. That these cobblers willl'ersist in 114egJect-

ing their own la st in ord f'f to bring li ght into the darkness of musical criticism is, at bottom, simply anoth er phase of the eternal ambition of an amateur to play Hamlet. vVe have passed from the a1'gurnenturn ad hominern to the argurnenturn ad hornines, unless we are to suppose th at :Mr. Newman is playing Falstaff in the same play :

I f I fOllo'ht not with fift y of them , call me a radish: if there were not two or three and fifty upon poor old Jack, then am I no two-legged c reature. :No, i t won't do, Mr. Newman, and without a moment's hesitation I cl{) call you a radish.

Whatever the faults of men of letters and minor novelists, they are as a class quite unaccustomed to pontificate on the subject of music. In fact, as Mr. Newman himself was inclined to complain not so long ago, novelists are singularly shy of the' subject, and he was actually expressing surprise that some of these manual workers did not try their horny hands on the life of a composer. I am not quite clear what Mr. Newman intends t.o convey by his remark about Hamlet. I f he knew