A H Fox-Strangways
Release Date: 01 March 2007
Format: Paperback / softback
USIC ERVED by A. H. FOX-STRANGWAYS THE SELECTION MADE BY STEUART WILSON Essay Index Reprint Series BOOKS FOR LIBRARIES PRESS, INC. FREEPORT, NEW YORK First Published 1936 Reprinted 1968 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOG CARD NUMBER 68-16931 PREFACE BY STEUART WILSON object of a preface is, as a rule, to introduce to the public the work of an unknown author, whose excellence shall be guaranteed by appearing under such wings of fame as may be spread by the prefator. Here the position is neatly reversed, for Mr. Fox Strangways has been a musical journalist for twenty-five years, and has written a round thousand articles on music, whereas I, who so cheerfully introduce him, am a whole generation his junior, and caused my sole undergraduate enterprise in musical criticism to come to a sudden and unpremeditated close with an action for libel. In the literary world of to-day authors and critics lie down and eat straw together quietly by virtue of their functions having become so mingled that A reviews Bs novel with the certainty that in a short time B will be having his way with A in another place. For the musical world we performers can seldom get the chance of criticizing our critics, and indeed we hardly know them except as a black-avised gang o. f Beckmessers who sit in the back row of concert-halls. But they are as the Lancashire wife said of her husband not so bad fCARSAS CITY flflftw PUBLIC LIBRA 7O59Q27 viii PREFACE when you get to know them, and my friendships have taught me amongst other things that some of our critics know their stuff better than we performers believe them to. Our respect for their judgment is also increased when we know that they have been in touch with any of theactualities of musical life as we performers know it. We may be wrong in this opinion, for perhaps aesthetic judgments can be formed without any inside knowledge of processes but we like to think that a critic knows from some experience of his own. We know that men are trained for the musical profession, but that they drift into journalism, and Mr. Fox Strangways is no exception. After Balliol he went to the Hochschule at Berlin and returned to this country to teach not music as it fell out, but German at Dulwich and subsequently at Wellington. After ten years of ordinary schoolmastering, when Alan Gray left Wellington for Trinity College, Cambridge, the organ stool and the conductors baton passed to A. H. F. S. Temporary dislocations of health caused him to leave Wellington and to seek health by two visits to India, the fruit of which was The Music of Hindustan, a work of exact observation and scholarship now safe in its niche in the libraries of the world, but out of print. Upon his final return from India he joined the staff of The Times in 1911, thus beginning a new career at the age when many of us are looking for fields and pastures only to go to grass in. In 1920 he wanted yet more room to PREFACE IX spread himself and Music and Letters came into being the longest-lived private musical journal in this country. In that same year I was first introduced to him, a young man who was interested in the problem of translating German songs, and our collaboration remains the pleasantest form of work that ever comes my way. jn 1925 The Observer called him away from Printing House Square, and long may he observe music from that pinnacle. For the rest, I would merely explain that I am responsible for the selection of the articles chosen, not from all that the learned author has written, but from such as have survived a certain incompleteness of business habits and found themselves lodged, such as they are and often undated, in large envelopes sorted according to general categories, in which they are here reprinted. It is meant to be a browsing book, to be read at ease and at leisure perhaps even in bed but without the necessity of leaping to the bookshelf or to the piano. And with this Prologue let the curtain go up...
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