Danish Music Review
Danish Music Review
The I.S.C.M.s 22nd International Music Festival,
Amsterdam, 5th till 13th June, 1948
Niels Viggo Bentzon, the young Danish composer, writes about the works performed at the I. S. C. M.s 22nd International Music Festival in Amsterdam. The author first mentions that he would have preferred to collect the works in groups acpording to their musical styles as F. Sch. P. did in his analysis of the works performed at the 21st Music Festival in Copenhagen, 1947. (See D.M., 1947, nos. 4-5, pages 91-101), but as this presupposes a more thoroughgoing knowledge of the works on the basis of music material, and as the author has not had the opportunity of procuring such material, he has grouped the works according to categories (orchestral music - chamber music a.s.o.). Only the »atonalists« are dealt with as a special style-group. It will not be possible here to summarize Niels Viggo Bentzon's characterization of all the works, but we want to point out that the author gives a rather detailed account - as far as he is able to on the basis of one performance, only - of the forms and the styles of the various works. He arrives at the result that f ar to many of the works performed were of a mediocre or simply bad quality, and he concludes his observations in this direction in the following manner:
»As a whole the musical level of this music festival seemed to have fallen several degrees in comparison with the music festival in Copenhagen last year. Without blaming any organizers it should be mentioned that the sections of the various countries have a great responsibility as regards the selection of the works of the rospective countries, in order that the best compositions are placed before the international jury assembling about six months before the annual music festival for the definite sifting of the comprehensive material.
In this article I have tried not to bring too »local« points of view. F.inst. the presence of so many atonal composers must signify a tendency not without interest, even if in Denmark we consider this phase modern music passed long since.
Considering the state of affairs it is evident that a raise of the musical quality at this music festivals is baffly needed if they shall not be reduced to a secondary affair. (This in spite of some music worth hearing).
Furthermore it must be taken into consideration that when »The International Society for New Music« was founded in 1923, it was so to speak the only forum of importance for contemporary music, while now both the radio, concerts' associations as well as private institutions are working in order to spread knowledge of modern music.
The decentralization of musical life threatens to undermine the basis for the raison d'etre of these music festivals, if not the best works are performed.
After the 20th music festival (London 1946) that was mainly retrospective, it was agreed that in the future the works of the great composers should not be performed, as first and foremost new and unknown names should be thrown light upon. As a principle this arrangement is not durable from an artistical point of view, and it is to be hoped that it will only be temporarily valid. - As it is known that works like Honegger's two latest symphonies (the liturgical and the »Sinfonia Basiliensis«) as well as the latest »America« works of Hindemith and Strawinsky would be really actual for an international selected audience, it is depressing that so much relatively unimportant music has come to performance this year. It is to be hoped that the 23rd international music festival taking place on the 22nd till 30th April, 1949, in Palermo, will bring more primary music and will let have the »ordinary« participants have an opportunity of criticizing the arrangements as it was the case with the »Scandinavian Music Days« in Stockholm in September 1947, where discussion meetings were held in continuation of the concerts. A good example to follow!
According to the slogan of a true democratic spirit the organizers of the I.S.C.M.s festival ought not limit their activity within the narrow frames of the jury and the delegates but open the fertile floodgates in order that this great organisation should not wither in formal stiffness and »international« unapproachableness. And as far as music is concerned it would be very unfortunate if the I.S.C.M. were reduced to a forum exclusively reserved for untried and more or less talented composers.
Only by setting the tone in the international musical life the I.S.C.M. can preserve its important position which - by its idealistic efforts through many years it should naturally take up.«
Danish Music-Literary Bibliography for the Year 1945
The supplementary list to Sigurd Berg's bibliography of Danish music-literary works which is brought once a year in the Dansk Musiktidsskrift has this year for the first time been published collected. It comprises all the literary works printed in Denmark concerning musical life and its personalia as well as corresponding works printed in other countries as far as they deal with Danish musical life or are written by Danish authors.
In this list are included all special publications as well as articles in periodicals and papers for the year 1945, and furthermore references to music-historical sections in works not exclusively dealing with music. The bibliography has this year been paginated apart and may be separated from the periodical.