THE GRAMOPHONE London Office,' 58, Frith Street, London, W.l Edited by COMPTON MACKENZIE

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Pa.rmaxto, W:estoent, London.

Vol. v.

AUGUST, 1927


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UNDOUBTEDLY the two discs that gave me the greatest pleasure last month were the Parlophone record of H a ndel's Sonata in C for viola da gamba and harpsichord, and on the fourth side a div ertimento of Haydn's for the same instruments. In my early days with the gramophone I should have suspected myself of allowing a l i terary or pictorial interest to bias my musical taste. There was a t ime when the only music I could endure was the viola da gamba, the viola d'amore, the lute, and the virginals. I read in an old Isis Idol of myselfperhaps I ·should explain that Isis Idols are short biographies, which appear every week in The I sis, of Oxford undergraduates who have distinguished themselves, usually in a sporting capacity-that " he confesses to an indifference for music except as represented by Mr. Dolmetsch."

This was written in 1904, and the chronicler was the

London editor of THE GRAMOPHONE, who in those days was a much more enthusiastic musician than myself, with red hair which grew with a wiry vigour that a professional pianist might have envied. When l l isten to these Parlophone records I think that my taste, if more austere and exclusive than i t is at the present day, was not so bad. The tone of the viola da gamba is something between that of a violoncello and a viola, with a quality of i ts own that I hesitate to call unmistakable when I rem ember how many musical people I have heard fail to identify far more familiar instruments. This sonata is early Handel, and i t is the early Handel which I l ike best. I am not attempting to question the greatness and the grandeur . of him later on, even if on me personally i t makes the impression of a Salvation Army leader in full-bottomed wig and full-skirted coat. There is no doubt that he . expressed the musical ideals of the English nation iQ