THIS BOOK, assembling the musical writings of Philip Hale, draws principally upon the programme books for which he wrote descriptive notes for thirty-two years of concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Since the notes were addressed to audiences approaching the music with, presumably, open minds, the writer judiciously withheld his individual opinion. This opinion he freely expressed in his newspaper reviews of the same concerts, extending over an even longer period, and it has seemed advisable, by combining the two, to bring together the critic and the historian. The editor has found, in the newspaper files, pertinent critical paragraphs which are here used to introduce the programme notes about each particular work. The transition from criticism to descriptive note is indicated by a typographical ornament.
In going through the scrapbooks in the Allen A. Brown Room of the Boston Public Library, wherein the newspaper criticisms of Philip Hale's forty active years are carefully preserved, the editor came across this observation by him, in the Boston Herald of MARCH 13, 1912: "In 1945 some student in the Brown Room of the Public Library will doubtless be amused by opinions expressed by us all, of works first heard in 1912. Some of us will not then be disturbed by his laughter or by quotations ornamented with exclamation marks of contempt or wonder."
There is cause for wonder, to a student at a time ten years short of the year Mr. Hale mentioned; wonder, however, at his quick perception of essential values upon first hearing what time has since proved a masterpiece, or considerably less than a masterpiece,