The Gramophone, December, 1929


other lodgers had been playing a trick on the landlady, and he had entered the bathroom with all the nonchalance in the world, only to drop all his shaving tackle as he just managed to slam the door in the baboon's face. Nobody had known what to do until somebody had suggested fetching in a policeman, the usual resource of the perplexed Londoner. The policeman had gone upstairs as if to arrest a burglar, but he too had come out of the bathroom quicker than he went in, for the brute had sat on the edge of the bath and chattered at him. In the end i t had been recaptured by a posse of keepers sent from Earl's Court Exhibition. Apparently i t had climbed up by a drain pipe outside the house. I t really was a baboon, too; one of those dog-faced brutes with large teeth. After we had finished laughing over this adventure, Hewlett and Charles returned to the attack with more Tchaikovsky. In turn they played through most of the melodies of the Sixth Symphony, but after an exhausting hour or two I remained as deaf to i ts appeal as when we started. Every t ime I went to visit them at that boarding-house in Lillie Road; Hewlett and Charles would try to convert me to Tchaikovsky, and I remember one terrible morning when Charles had been commanded to play before Queen Alexandra, the Princess of Wales as she was then, and in his excitement had nearly managed to sever his thumb while cutting the bread at breakfast. Poor Charles was in despair, for he was thinking that his future was ruined. The grief over Tchaikovsky was forgotten in the bitter disappointment of a friend, and i t was not until three or four years later, when I had played the Sixth Symphony over and over to myself on an Aeolian orga n belonging to my friend George Montagu, who was then l iving in the next house to mine at Burford, that I began to surrender to Tchaikovsky. I t may be significant that about the same period I was at the height of my devotion to Dostoievsky, but I am not going to make the least suggestion that there was any connection between enjoying .Tchaikovsky's music and appreciating Dostoievsky's novels. However, once I had succumbed to Tchaikovsky I succumbed in style, and for a year I could not hear enough of him, nor indeed had I sated myself with his music by the t ime I got interested in the gramophone, and well do I remember a pair of old Columbia discs on which the Milan Symphony Orchestra gave us an abbreviated performance of the Fifth Symphony of Tchaikovsky, the music of which was hardly audible above the scratch. Since then we have had many editions of his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies , and one of his Fourth Symphony, made by H.M.V. in the first days of electric recording. vVe have had the Pianoforte ConoeTto, and now we have the Violin Concerto. Possibly the effect of living at Jethou had something to do with my growing dislike of Tc}laikovsky's music apart from being sated with re-duplicated versions of the Fifth a nd Sixth Symphonies, for I note as Significant that having ha.d to spend the last month in London I have found the Violin ConCe1io as fascinating as ever. Yes, I think Tchaikovsky's music is of the city. I t does not survive the saner atmosphere of the country a,nd, as I never have the Slightest longing for London when I am away from i t , I never get from Tchaikovsky the sad music of huma,nity. But i f fortune should choose to deprive me of material goods, and I should find myself l iving in a London garret, I am inclined to think that I should derive a great deal of consolation from the music of Tchaikovsky, for i t would not be reminding me of what I had lost, but would always seem to be expressing for me the yearning of the fretful crowded restless life of a modern city, a yearning, moreover, which living in a garret without any visible means of subsistence I should be most unlikely to assuage.

The publication of Rachmaninoff's Pianoforte Concerto in C minor, in an album of five discs published by H.M.V., with the composer as soloist and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, under Stokowski, provides me with an excuse for one more reminiscence this month; and by the kindness and courtesy of the B.B.C. I am allowed to reprint the following article which appeared in the programme of the B.B.C Symphony Concerts on November 8th:

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When I look back on the composers I have met, i t seems to me that the only ones who have always unmistakably resembled composers have been the composers of jazz. Sir Charles Stanford looked l ike a country gentleman, Sir Hubert Parry looked l ike a country gentleman, and Sir Edward Elgar looks like a country gentleman. Perhaps i t was this very air of a country gentleman coming up to town for lunch at his club that enabled me in the early days of my interest in the gramophone to feel less abashed than I might have been expected to feel in venturing to talk to Sir Edward in the Savile on the subject which was occupying so much of my thoughts. So long as the conversation remained firmly centred on the mechanical side of the gramophone all went well, but when, as was inevitable sooner or later with such a conversation, i t began to circle round the topic of music itself, Sir Edward shut up abruptly.

" I really take no interest in music any longer," he told me, with that in his voice which warned me not to attempt to sit at his feet. Perhaps his kindness perceived that I was feeling uncomfortable at having trespassed, as i t were, into a private garden with a very high wall round i t , for presently he turned to me and asked jf I had ever used a microscope. I told him that I had had a microscope when I was very young, but that in later yea,rs I h ad neglected i t .

" That is a mistake," he observed, "you should