Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes: Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers

Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes: Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers

Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes: Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers

Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes: Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers

Excerpt

Some day an inquisitive musicologist will consider the part played in the history of musical education and musical taste by that seemingly indispensable adjunct of the symphonic concert room, the Programme Note. When that time comes, the contributions made by Philip Hale to the musical civilization of his time will appear in their true proportions. For more than a generation, from the beginning of the twentieth century to the fifth year of the Great Depression, Hale provided programme notes for everything played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in its regular concerts— "upward of a thousand works", as Mr. Burk informs us in his valuable note to the present collection. The annual issue by the Boston Symphony Orchestra of the bound volumes containing Philip Hale's annotations was an event in the musical world of America that exceeded in importance and interest the appearance of the average new symphonic work upon the Orchestra's programmes. A decade ago, in commenting upon the issue of one of those momentous and liberal tomes (sometimes they included more than two thousand pages), I remarked that it provided a musical education in one volume. Those famous annotations—modestly indicated on the title-page, in small and light-faced type, as "historical and descriptive notes by Philip Hale"—constitute a library of musical information the like of which is not to be found elsewhere on this sufficiently book-congested sphere.

Though Hale was a New Englander by birth, he had not the normal New England suspicion of entertainment as an educational ingredient; and he did not scruple to amuse. He was almost inde-

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