‘Vast quantities of music flung at them’ - From the Archive: November 1923


Composer A.M. Gifford presents a compelling argument for musicians to be more adventurous in their programming

One continually hears of the bad taste of the public. I have heard nothing else since I was a boy and apparently it is worse now than it has ever been, but the slightest thought will shew that what is miscalled the public taste is not the taste of the public at all, for the public are never consulted.

They have vast quantities of music flung at them which they must swallow or go without. For more than half a century the only music which could be heard was the music of the church, and it is remarkable the part that hymn tunes play in our national life, although half our hymns would never be sung were it not for the pretty tunes to which they are set. Our organists were afraid to play anything except the Fugues of Bach and the Sonatas of Mendelssohn, not because they understood them, but because it was considered the proper thing to do; they were neither understood nor played intelligibly, yet because they were unintelligible to the great mass of people who only tolerated them because there was little else, they were accused of having no taste…

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