Recreational Music Defended (another Letter to an Editor)

The [Adelaide] Advertiser of 18 March 1950 printed the following letter to the Editor:

Sir — Mr …… ‘s reference to “so-called music” is obviously an attempt to belittle recreational music and instruments. It is absurd to suggest that the term “music” is confined to the classics and that music has not a recreational function.

Recreational instruments have also a place in classical music. Mozart (“Don Giovanni”), Handel (“Alexander Balus” oratoria) and Beethoven wrote music for the mandolin: Paganini and Schubert wrote for the guitar and Percy Grainger created a new technique of writing for the guitar which he called the “Australian Way”. The late Brewster Jones‘s symphony orchestra played his composition “the Nightingale Suite” in the Adelaide Town Hall in 1919 and featured the ukulele in the second movement.

There is no point in dividing music teaching into two sections, making one section illegal except for those registered. It is no defence to describe other music but classical as “so-called music”. Musical snobbery will do more harm than good to the laudable promotion of interest in the classics. Symphony orchestra instruments are usually in dance bands — are these musicians to be compelled in future to be trained only as classical players?

John Nicholas

So there! Does anyone have a copy of Brewster-Jones’s “Nightingale”?

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Published in: on December 24, 2010 at 9:36 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Interesting!
    Beethoven wrote for the mandolin since he felt in love with a nice lady who played the mandolin! This is the best reason to start to write a composition.

  2. Well said John Nicholas.
    The Nightingale should be unearthed. James Hill might be interested.


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