January 4, 1919
Page 17
What a Steel King is Doing for British Music

Andrew Carnegie, of New York City and Skibo, Set Aside Large Fund, Part of Which Is Employed to Publish and Bring to Wider Public the Works of Contemporary British Composers—The Scope of the Plan—A Pertinent and Pointed Question
By CECIL FORSYTH (The English Composer and Author)

[This. article, dealing with the Carnegie Foundation, was written especially for MUSICAL AMERICA by Cecil Forsyth, the distinguished English composer, now in this country. Coming from him it has added value, both because he is closely in touch with musical conditions in his own country and because Mr. Forsyth as an Englishman makes the inquiry in regard to Mr. Carnegie’s doing a similar service for the imporant compositions in the larger forms by American composers.—Editor, MUSICAL AMERICA.]
FOR some time past, musical America, amateur and professional, has had its curiosity aroused by certain strange tales which have been coming uncensored from England. According to these tales the English had suddenly gone mad and were about to publish all (or most) of the chamber and orchestral music which their composers had produced in the last twenty-five years. At first nobody believed these whisperings. Then all sorts of wild theories began to fly about. One cynic said that it was the Kaiser’s doing—his final effort of Schrecklichkeit. Another hinted that Beatty had boldly sailed up the Rhine, had rescued the interned English music-plates at Mainz, Cologne and other places, and had finally dispatched a landing party of British tars overland to complete the job at Leipzig. However, as it turned out, neither Beatty nor the Kaiser was the moving spirit in this musical enterprise. The official reports soon began to come across the Atlantic, and it was found that the English composer’s friend and benefactor was the Scotch-American millionaire, Andrew Carnegie.
What Is the “Carnegie United Kingdom Trust”?
On Oct. 3, 1913, Andrew Carnegie of New York City and of Skibo in the county of Sutherland, bound himself and his heirs, executors and successors to transfer and deliver Trust Bonds of the United States Steel Corporation of the aggregate face value of Ten Million Dollars, bearing interest at five per cent per annum, to twelve solid men of Dunfermline and also to six members of the Corporation of Dunfermline and three members of the School Board of Dunfermline. His main object in doing so was that the interest on this sum should be applied to the “improvement of the wellbeing of the masses of the people of Great Britain and Ireland, by such means as are embraced within the meaning of the word charitable, according to Scottish or English law.” He recommended his Trustees “to consider the propriety of providing, or aiding in the providing of Public Baths,” and he expressly prohibited them from applying any part of the income “towards research designed to promote the development of implements or munitions of war,” and from using “any part of the trust funds in any way which would lend countenance to war or warlike preparations.”
At first Mr. Carnegie’s intentions seem to have been directed toward the provision of libraries and organs. Both these objects are outlined in the first paragraph of the Trust Deed. The libraries do not concern us here. But his reasons for wishing to provide organs are so curious that they must be quoted. The reader should remember that they are the considered convictions of a hard-headed business man embodied in a dry legal document. He says: “And in regard to organs, because of my own experience that the organ is one of the most elevating of voices, often causing me to murmur the words of Confucius as I listen to its peals, ‘Music, sacred tongue of God, I hear thee calling and I come,’ and also because of the consolation I experience under the influence of a maxim of the same seer—‘All worship being intended for the true God, howsoever addressed, reaches and is accepted by Him.’”
As this organ scheme has now been dropped by the trustees, we may dismiss it by stating that £15,690-0-2 has been expended on this object. One hundred and six British churches and chapels have benefited, of which two were helped by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The highest single payment was £517 made to St. Nicholas Cole Abbey Church, London, and the lowest, £12-10-0 to Creggs Presbyterian Church.
In addition to this, £600 has been granted to the “Association of Musical Competition Festivals,” an earnest body of music-lovers whose good works honey comb England from end to end, and £5,000 each to the Royal Blind Asylum and School, Edinburgh, and the Royal Normal College and Academy of Music for the Blind, near London. The latter institution, which is one of the most efficient specialized schools of music in the world, had suffered a good deal through the war.
Publication of Tudor Church Music
This scheme the trustees, for some reason or other, persistently refer to as the “Publication of Tudor and Elizabethan Music.” It has long been known that manuscript music of this period was lying unpublished in various English libraries. And though it was probable that the best had already been printed, it was thought advisable to face the question of complete publication. Two questions at once arose: (1) Was the music intrinsically so valuable as to warrant its publication? (2) Would publication “improve the well-being of the masses of the people of Great Britain and Ireland”?
A preliminary survey of the field enabled the trustees to answer “yes” to the first question. To the second question their answer was also “yes.” But, as their report shows, they only arrived at it with a good deal of hesitation. After stating that the arguments “would entail an historical review of British music since the sixteenth century,” they proceed to trot out the old bogies about Handel and foreign domination, ending with the pious hope that “access to the musical language of their countrymen of the past will have its effect upon composers of the present day and be reflected in their own productions, having regard, of course, to the changed form of expression which is the result of the great development of orchestration since the period in question.”
If my view on this point is worth recording, I should like to say that it appears to me to be mere casuistry to pretend that the well-being of the British and Irish masses can be improved by the publication of this music. The facts that it ought to have been published long ago, and that we all rejoice at its forthcoming publication are beside the question. At the same time I cannot deny myself a pleasant little hug of surprise in contemplating this rare triumph of the archaeologists over the financiers. In conclusion let me add that the publication is in the very able hands of Dr. Terry, the organist of the new Roman Catholic Cathedral at Westminster; that he has a committee of experts, including Dr. Charles Wood, Dr. Percy Buck and Miss Stainer; that the Clarendon Press at Oxford is bringing out the work in a Library Edition and a Popular Edition, and that so far £576-11-6 has been expended on the publication.
Musical Composition Publication Scheme
This is the portion of the Carnegie activities which has the greatest interest to American readers. The trustees, recognizing that, in dealing with the higher types of composition, “musical publishers, perhaps not unnaturally, shrink from undertaking the cost of printing as a commercial speculation and that, as a result, much of the best work of our composers remains unknown except to the limited audience which has heard the composition performed from manuscript have provided “the means whereby annually one or more, but in no case more than six, works of outstanding merit shall be published by the trust.” A Board of Adjudication has been formed “composed of British musicians of the highest standing.” The names of the members of this board are kept secret—a proceeding which will scarcely commend itself to the American mind. But the board “will be varied from time to time, so that different schools of musical thought may find expression.” Only composers “of British parentage and nationality, ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom” are permitted to submit works, and the works themselves must be original unpublished manuscripts falling within five specified classes: (1) Concerted Chamber Music for three or more instruments, (2) Concertos with Orchestra, (3) Choral Works with Orchestra, ( 4) Symphonic Works, (b) Operas or Incidental Music to Plays.
A complete scheme has been drawn up for the publishing of the selected works at the expense of the trustees and for securing to the composers the copyright and all the royalties obtained from the sale of copies to the public. A special title-page has been designed by Sapper E. Martin of the Royal Engineers, and the whole issue is to bear the imprint of Stainer and Bell, Ltd., of London, whose agents in America are J. Fischer & Bro., New York.
Of the 136 works submitted to the adjudicators, twenty-four were selected for serious consideration, and of these eleven have been accepted for publication. They are as follows: Bainton’s choral symphony “Before Sunrise,” Bantack’s “Hebridean” Symphony, Boughton’s opera “The Immortal Hour,” Frank Bridge’s Symphonic Suite “The Sea,” Howells’s Pianoforte Quartet in A Minor, Stanford’s opera “The Traveling Companion,” Williams’s “London” Symphony, Collingwood’s “Symphonic Poem,” Hay’s String Quartet in A Minor, Wall’s Pianoforte Quartet in C Minor and Wallace’s Symphonic Poem “Wallace.” The sum of £510-3-4 has been allocated for the publication of these works.
It is obvious that, in carrying out this scheme, the Carnegie Trustees are forced to pit their wits and money against the wits and money of the publishers, with this highly important reservation that, while their objects are purely artistic and benevolent, the publishers’ objects are partly artistic and partly commercial. Hence arises a pretty situation. If there were no publishers and no public in England to care for the higher types of music, the trustees would be able to secure a 100 per cent list of the best compositions. But no one seriously pretends that this is so. Publishers will and do put their money and brains into elaborate chamber music and into full scores, provided they can foresee a reasonable degree of public support. For such works a healthy rivalry is likely to grow up between the publishers and the trustees. The other type of work, whatever its merits or demerits, will undoubtedly tend to drift towards Dunfermline, and the trustees will be lucky if they can keep its quantity down to their percent of their total output. Even in the present short list of publications there are signs of its existence. However that may be, every lover of music will watch with sympathetic interest this inspired effort of Mr. Carnegie to place the music of his countrymen before the world.
Activities of the Carnegie Trustees
In the above short article I have by no means exhausted the activities of the Carnegie Trustees. They stretch out in all directions. A Lending Library of Music, from which full scores and orchestral parts could be borrowed, is under consideration. A Bureau of Musical Advice, to which “all progressive choral and orchestral societies” might be affiliated, is to be formed. Small grants of money are to be made “to orchestras and choirs of a deserving nature.” All these schemes are still somewhat in nubibus. But they will materialize. And I look forward to a time when all good Englishmen will bask contentedly in the sun of musical prosperity, turning their eyes upwards to the jolly gods who govern them without effort from their cloud-tops over Dunfermline.


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