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time threatened to extinguish even that of Spohr or Weber, kept the works of many excellent composers in the background. Chopin and Thalberg succeeded in establishing a speciality for the piano, and in these last years the merits of Schubert, Schumann, and let us hope we may soon be able to add Richard Wagner, have been amply acknowledged. If in this place we do not refer at length to the labours of Cipriani Potter, Sir Sterndale Bennett, Mr. Moscheles, Sir Michael Costa, Sir Frederick Gore Duseley, Sir J. Benedict, Sir M. Balfe, Mr. Henry Leslie, the brothers Macfarren, Mr. Arthur Sullivan, and a few other important names, it is not from any want of respect, but simply from want of space. Most of them Englishmen, they have all worked for and in England. The immense progress of music, owing to the above-mentioned causes, will be realized by these two facts--that in London alone there exist at the present tiine no less than 104 well-established musical societies, and 2150 resident musical professors; and London supports at least eight musical journals. The most powerful and accomplished orchestras are those of the Crystal Palace (conductor Mr. Manns), the old Philharmonic (conductor Mr. W. G. Cusins). The best quartet concerts are the Monday Popular, the Musical Union concerts at St. James's Hall, and Mr. Holmes' Musical Evenings at St. George's Hall. For refined choral singing there is no choir equal to Mr. H. Leslie's. The Sacred Harmonic under Sir W. M. Costa and Mr. Barnby's Choir give annual splendid performances of the principal oratorios at St. James's and Exeter Hall; and the Albert Hall promises to be a formidable rival to the Crystal Palace as a new and magnificent centre for giant concerts of all kinds. The late Handel Festival has been a great pecuniary and choral success above its predecessors, but the superiority of the Albert Hall for the execution of solos was
more apparent. We may also well ask why the seats in the area blocks are always the highest in price, as they are undoubtedly the worst for hearing. Being so much below the level of any part of the orchestra, the sound floats over the listener's head. The Birmingham Festivals and the Cathedral Festivals at Gloucester, Hereford, and Worcester, have done an incalculable amount of good to the cause of music in the English provinces; and musical societies abound all over the country. England, therefore, at this moment is rich in the most splendid raw material for a great national organization for the promotion of the musical art. There is plenty of private enterprize, but there is great want of union, of system, of organization, and we must add of generosity and goodwill. There are three ways in which, if the Government were convinced that music is as good for the nation as picture galleries, it might further the cause of music in England:-1st. By the encouragement of a sound system of musical instruction in schools. 2ndly. By supporting or aiding to support a central academy for musical instruction, with a select band for regular concerts, similar to the Conservatoire in Paris or the Gewandhaus in Leipsic. 3rdly. By supporting or aiding to support a much larger pension list than at present exists, for superannuated or eminent musicians in reduced circumstances. We will explain each of these proposals in a few words. First as to musical education.
We propose that a competent Committee be asked to decide on the best method of popular instruction, and that one uniform method be adopted in all schools receiving Government grants. Every school would then be properly taught music, instead of most schools, as is now the case, being taught badly. The difficulties raised about examination are so puerile that no one having the smallest acquaintance with the subject would ever have raised them. There is no difficulty which an ordinarily intelligent inspector, whether he knew music or not, could not with a little assistance from the schoolmaster or local organist easily and satisfactorily surmount. Besides, why not make a certain knowledge of music henceforth incumbent upon all school inspectors ? After all, schools are not made for the benefit of inspectors, but inspectors for the benefit of schools.
Secondly, we ought to have a central academy for musical instruction supported in great measure by Government. The Royal Academy of Music
would form an excellent nucleus, and is highly favoured in receiving at present 5001. a year from Government. Therefore the Government, by this slender endowment, has admitted the principle for which we plead. The scholarships should be increased in number and value, and the society should confer different diplomas or degrees of merit after the manner of our universities. These should be coveted by our musicians as a B.A. degree is coveted by our scholars. Instead of anybody calling himself professor, and hundreds professing to teach singing and the piano who have never been properly taught themselves, we should soon have a class of well-taught and able professors, organists, and pianists, properly certificated. No church would engage a man without some degree, and every parent would have some guarantee that the person who taught his children had himself been taught. We should soon have a great and beneficial weeding in the musical profession. Persons whose only merit consisted in a foreign nationality and a limited acquaintance with the English language would presently be at a discount, and the social position, standard, and tone of our native musicians would quickly rise throughout the land.
This academy should be always training a band of its own pupils, and might thus supply bands all over the kingdom with well-trained and certificated musicians. The musicians in all our metropolitan societies should bear certificates of merit, and thus be members of the one large society; and then the societies' great performances, say at the Albert Hall, might consist of the best men chosen out of all the affiliated bands and choruses in London.
Before any such scheme can be got to work it is necessary that all existing societies should cease to be rivals and learn to be friends. And this might be. Our central society would displace no one, and encourage and strengthen all existing organizations. Its professors would be chosen from amongst able leaders and musical directors, who now stand too often in bitter rivalry towards each other; and the richer the central society became the more scholarships could be founded, and the more funds would there be wherewith to make grants to other societies and promote the general prosperity of numerous affiliated branches in the provinces.
And, lastly, the scope of the present Royal Society of Musicians might be immensely extended. When a musician is too old for his work, he ought to be allowed to retire honourably on a pension; and the Government, which occasionally places on its civil list some very peculiar specimens of literary merit, should certainly aid such a musical pension fund as we propose. There is no hope of retaining an efficient orchestra anywhere, for any length of time, owing to the impossibility of getting rid of old, prejudiced, and often incompetent men. Many old orchestral players are invaluable, but others simply cannot play their parts, nor can they well be turned out without a retiring pension. Such bands of splendid players as the old Philharmonic and the Crystal Palace should be kept efficient in this way, and their musicians, after years of faithful work, should be able to look forward to an honourable retirement accompanied by something better than penury or starvaticn. In all cases our central society should, through its committee, examine the claims and award the pensions to retiring or indigent musicians of merit.
And, let us observe, we are suggesting nothing new or strange: much of our scheme has been carried out with success on the Continent. It cannot be said when the Government expends such vast sums on pictures that it is intentionally indifferent to the interests of Art, and as regards music the germs of our three propositions already exist in England, they only await fertilization and development.
Music is already officially acknowledged in our schools ; let it be well taught under Government. The Royal Academy of Music is already on the right track, and is assisted with official funds; let it be expanded into a great central organization—for instance, either let it absorb the South Kensington scheme, or let it be itself absorbed into the Albert Hall. The Society of Musicians already provides pensions and pecuniary aid to many deserving musicians all over the land, with an honourable maintenance ; let them be encouraged to establish a claim upon it by the payment of a small annual fee. And, lastly, let the general public, as well as the Government, awake to the importance, musically and philanthropically, of such a pension fund as we suggest, and contribute accordingly. We have no fear for the prospects of music in England. Our professors and amateurs have borne down much opposition, and have already obtained from an unmusical Government several unwilling concessions. Let them persevere, and if they are asked by Mr. Lowe himself, in the words of Mr. Darwin, "Pray, what do you consider may be the direct uses of music to man in reference to his ordinary habits of life?' let them answer in some such words as these, • There is no class of society which music is not calculated to recreate and improve. The lowest are brought most easily under its dominion, and the highest cannot escape its influence. Thousands of poor children who are being daily gathered into our schools acknowledge practically the helpfulness of music. We may convince ourselves of this by entering any national schoolroom on some hot summer's day. Who can estimate the fatigue and listlessness that come over the spirits of children wholly unused to mental application? Soon the teacher's voice rings in their ears without conveying any definite meaning -the mind, “like a jarred pendulum, retains only its motion, not its power;" the master exhausts himself in vain, and the already overworked mistress grows disheartened to see that no authority she can exercise will revive the worn-out attention of the pupil.
But, the music lesson-or perhaps only one song is thrown in—the little faces brighten up, the listless hands are raised to beat time, the eager eyes are turned towards one of Mr. Hullah's big boards with big music and words, and, in a moment, the room resounds with music from a hundred fresh voices; and the wearied teacher forgets with a smile the tedium and the toil, whilst the children, by music, are drawn more closely to the teacher and the task; as if by magic the emotional atmosphere of the room is changed, and the spelling or arithmetic is attacked with as much vigour as if the little students had only just come in from the green fields or pleasant playground. Has music been of no direct use to these children?
Again, is it nothing that the innocent pleasures of our poor should be indefinitely increased? These school children throughout the land carry home their songs; they sing them to the labourer when he comes back at nightfall, the mother sings them to her fractious babe, the eldest daughter sings them as she goes about her household drudgery or farmwork, the very animals prick up their ears, and it is notorious that horses are cheered by the sound of their tinkling bells, and encouraged by the cheery songs of the ploughman. Many animals have good ears for time, and can be got to labour better with some musical accompaniment than without it,
Let our poor have musical homes, and they will be less likely to go to the public-house for society, as well as for the music they find there. Let us train our poor children to music, and we shall have got one transforming element into the poor homes of the future.
But let us enter the workrooms of our great cities. Ought we not to be glad that through the long hours thousands of poor girls in crowded factories should be taught to sing together in parts over their work, and thus refresh themselves with an emotional life beyond the reach of the grinding machinery around them and the fumes of overheated workrooms? The fingers will speed none the less swiftly, but the young frames will not suffer so much, because the work will become more mechanical, less mental, and the mind refreshed by sweet sounds will be less apt to brood over morbid and unhealthy themes.
Like a good physician, like a tender friend, music comes to the aid of all classes, a gentle minister of consolation-sweeping clear the sky and showing the blue beyond, making grief bearable and loss tolerable. Music soothes the fever heat of the sick man, and ministers strangely to the disordered mind when other remedies fail ; it enables the soldier to accomplish forced marches and fight battles at the end of them, it draws the bands of social and family life more closely together, it recreates the wearied professional man, it kindles new fervour in the sluggish soul, and is, moreover, ready to bear on high the inarticulate aspirations of many a toiling and careworn spirit.
These, and a thousand others, are amongst the benefits which Music is able to confer upon her votaries. Is it strange that those who are impressed with her power, and are aware of her infinite resources, should labour for the extension of musical education, and try, meanwhile, to provide some real answer to the objection