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PHOTOGRAPH FROM PAUL THOMPSON
SPORTS OF THE AUSTRALIAN NAVAL RESERVES The photograph shows a striking exhibition seen at the annual meeting of the Australian Naval Reserve at Sydney, New South Wales. In the obstacle race
pictured the agility of the young sailors in feats of climbing augurs well for their usefulness when confronted with the exigencies of their profession
SOME OF THE SHELLS RECOVERED FROM THE DEPTHS
“BLACK TOM” EXPLOSION Large numbers of the shells that were sent to the bottom of the bay after the recent terrific explosion in New York Harbor have been recovered. They will be returned to the munitions works to be recharged, their temporary submersion having merely injured the powder inclosed in them, without lessening their
А GREAT ENGLISH MUSICIAN'
BY DANIEL GREGORY MASON
NGLISH music, no music," said Such insularity cannot but be fatal to art. It
had seen little reason to revise the narrow native models. It is even worse unfavorable verdict until, in 1899 and 1900, when, ignoring native music of the finest Edward Elgar produced two masterpieces, one quality, such as that of Purcell, it follows in pure instrumental music, the “Enigma" blindly, through timidity or inertia, traditions Variations; the other a cantata,
imported by foreigners of inferior grade. Dream of Gerontius." German appreciation, Generations of English musicians have stuktithe more coveted the longer withheld, was fied themselves in imitating Handel's burly cordial enough when it came. The Varia- ponderousness and Mendelssohn's sometions, produced in November, 1901, in Ber- what vapid elegance. They have turned lin, under Weingartner, were pronounced by a deaf ear, not only to the greater contema leading critic to rank with Brahms's Haydn poraries of these idols—to Bach and to Variations, “and even above them as regards Schumann—but also to the more modern the exploitation and handling of the orches- thought of Wagner, Franck, Tschaikowsky, tra." “ Gerontius,” heard in Düsseldorf and Brahms. They have been correct and only a month later, won its composer a laurel respectable in an art which lives only through wreath, a Tusch from the orchestra, and the intense personal emotion. They have narhighest critical praise. The seal of German rowed their sympathies. They have been approval was thus placed on a reputation national in an age of dawning internationwhich had grown steadily but slowly. Born alism. in 1857, Elgar reached general recognition in Elgar, on the contrary, together with a few England only with “ King Olaf ” in 1896. In others whose work deserves to be better 1900 he was honored with the degree of known than it is, has had the courage to asDoctor of Music by the University of Cam- pire to a cosmopolitan breadth of style. He bridge for his achievement in “Gerontius," has made up for the lack of what are called even though the work perhaps puzzled as "educational advantages " by something far much as it edified the British public as a more valuable—an insatiable intellectual curiwhole, bred on Handel and Mendelssohn. osity. Self-taught except for a few violin The prophet was helped in his own country lessons in youth, he has been all his life a by foreign praise, however, and in 1904 a tireless listener, observer, and student. When knighthood for him was included among the he was a boy, having no text-books on muKing's birthday honors. Since the produc- sical form, he wrote a whole symphony in tion of his two fine symphonies in 1908 and imitation of Mozart's in G minor, “ following 1911 Sir Edward Elgar has been recognized the leader” with admirable and fruitful doas one of the foremost living composers. cility. As a youth he would play violin, at
The contribution of German approval to the last desk oftentimes, in any orchestra to this entirely merited fame is here emphasized which he could gain admission, for the sake because it directs our attention to an essential of the experience ; and between rehearsals point about Elgar-a point in which he differs
would laboriously collate the instrumental from many of his compatriots. Elgar is English parts to find out why a certain passage in character, but cosmopolitan in sympathies, sounded well or ill. He would travel two style, and workmanship. In other words, hundred and fifty miles to London, from his while retaining the personal and racial quality home in Worcester, to hear a Crystal Palace natural to all sincere art, he has been mag- Saturday concert, returning late at night. nanimous, intelligent, and unconventional Knowing well that any potent individuality enough to break through the charmed circle like his own grows by what it assimilates, he of insularity which has kept so many English has had none of the small man's fear of composers from vital contact with the world. injuring by the study of others his “ individu
ality.” The internal evidence of his works 1 The author wishes to express his indebtedness to Mr. H. W. Gray, American representative of Novello, Ewer & shows that there are few modern scores he Co., for the loan of the Elgar scores used in preparing
has left unpondered; yet no living composer this article.
A GREAT ENGLISH MUSICIAN
has a more unmistakably personal style than This does not in the least mean that Elgar his.
has ceased to be English. His greatness, His intellectual activity has by no means indeed, is precisely that he has given England confined itself to music. He has always a voice in the world of music. His is an been an omnivorous reader. And while essentially English nature. He has the plainmuch of this reading naturally proceeded in ness, the seriousness, the manly strength, desultory fashion, for the sake of relaxation, even something of the inflexibility, the and took him sometimes as far afield as angularity, of his people. He is fond of Froissart, the fourteenth-century French marking his themes “ nobilmente ;" and they, chronicler, as suggested by his early overture even if their nobility is sometimes of a type of that name, he has never lost the power of that reminds us of " muscular Christianity" concentration, and can study a book to as in its aggressive good health, nevertheless good purpose as a score. His analytic notes usually live up to the direction. They are to his symphonic study “Falstaff " (1913) melodies of firm pace, of sturdy self-respect, reveal a surprisingly detailed knowledge both expressing a vigorous, practical good will
. of Shakespeare and of Shakespeare's com- They suggest nothing of the pathological mentators. Science also interests him, and hypersensibility, the sensuous preoccupations for some years his hobby was scientific kite- and itch after sensationalism, of so much of flying. He is of the nervously irritable tem- the contemporary Continental music. The perament so often coupled with mental alert- almost childlike chastity, so often misunderness, walks about restlessly while conversing, stood, of the best English natures is reflected and detests all routine work like teaching. in them. On the next page, for example " To teach the right pupil was a pleasure,” (Figure I), is a typical Elgar melody, the hé once said, “ but teaching in general was main theme of the first symphony. to me like turning a grindstone with a dislo- The spiritual aspiration expressed in this cated shoulder.” In 1889 he married, gave beautiful melody, the quiet dignity of its up most of his teaching, and moved to Lon- deliberate tread and of the reserved way in don. Since then he has lived partly among which it unfolds its successive aspects, rising his native Malvern Hills, partly near London, gradually to the emotional height of the fourbut has devoted himself almost entirely to teenth measure and as slowly subsiding, the composing and conducting.
poignant feeling of the fragments of counterFrom Elgar's long list of choral works may melody added by the horns, the wistfulness be chosen for special mention “ The Black of the soft echo of the opening at the end Knight" (1893), “King Olaf” (1896), all this will be felt by every sympathetic lis" Caractacus” (1899), " The Dream of tener. Gerontius” (1900), and “ The Apostles What only study will reveal is the subtlety (1903). His chief orchestral works are the with which Elgar has managed to be simple Enigma” Variations (1899), in which his without being common.
There is not an genius for the orchestra was first convinc- “ accidental” sharp or flat in the whole—that ingly shown; the overtures “Cockaigne” is to say, it is built on the old diatonic scale and “ In the South ;” the two symphonies ; of eight notes of such solid tunes as Handel's a concerto for Violin, dedicated to Fritz Largo ;" yet there is none of the stodgy Kreisler (1910); and “ Falstaff ” (1913), his heaviness of Handel's harmony and the oversingle essay in programme music. The obvious balance of his rhythm. Elgar, it may steady advance in depth and variety of expres- be confessed, is not always so successful in sion, catholicity of taste, and flexibility of the matter of rhythm as here--a certain mostyle made by him during the period of his notony and singsong reiteration of phrase is most active production is almost as striking the single weakness of his school that he has as the growth of Wagner from “Rienzi” not always escaped ; but here his notes to " Tristan," or of Verdi from " Trovatore” group with as much spontaneous variety as to “ Otello.” The Elgar of to-day retains noth- Shelley's syllables. And the harinony is ing of British insularity; he speaks the lan- equally fine. There is just enough dissoguage of music, not with an English accent, nance to keep things moving, without any of but as a citizen of the world; he is the peer of the conventional suspensions of the English Strauss in Germany, of d'Indy in France, of academic choral style with which Elgar hiinRachmaninoff in Russia, in the work of all of self began, as may be seen in “ The Black whom nationality is less felt than humanity. Knight." The restless bass, peculiarly Elgar