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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Whom to believe? A ukulele controversy?

The Pittsburgh Press in 1927 happily published contradictory views on the ukulele.

1 May — Ukulele Ike (jazzy uke player) said…

“It is a purely modern instrument that appeals to the person who enjoys music, and desires to play some instrument, but who does not care to spend many hours in study.”

5 June — Nawahi (the champion uke player of the world) said (and I paraphrase) …

The ukulele is really a Hawaiian instrument that was never meant for the jazz tunes that you hear played on it in this country.

Nawahi played classical tunes and previously had won a Chicago Championship.

It seems there was a little ukulele tribalism going on (and the uke can suit any tribe).

Published in: on April 9, 2010 at 7:58 pm  Comments (8)  
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