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Musical Renaissance

(London, 1950)

Prepared by Richard Kitson
Online only (2020)

Two issues of Musical Renaissance: A Monthly Magazine [MRN] were published in London in July and August, 1950 under the editorship of Michael G. Thomas. Each issue consists of twenty-eight pages in single-column format. The pages of issue no. 1 are numbered, but no numbers are given for issue no. 2. Thomas represents himself as the Founder and Director of the Cherubini Society. He appears to be the author of all articles except for a poem by Felicia Hemans, a sort article copied from another unspecified source on the contrabassist Dragonetti by nineteenth-century writer John Ella, a biographical sketch of soprano Giulia Grisi by Anna de Bremont, and an essay on neglected composers by Basil Viney, all published in the last pages of issue no. 2.

According to Thomas in his introductory editorial, a renaissance or re-birth was, in 1950, “vitally necessary for the well-being and progress of music.” He continues with opinions on or about the present state of all aspects of musical performance in England. In his second editorial, Thomas deals with the de-Nazification process of several internationally known musicians. Notable articles include “The Truth about Mengelberg,” in which the charges of the Dutch conductors wartime association with the National Socialists Party of Germany and the conditions of his pardon are explained. The history of the first performances and subsequent revivals of Cherubini’s Water Carrier are examined. Considerable attention is paid to the introduction of the long-playing record in the United States, and the production of this new type of record is explained in the recounting of a visit to the Polydor factory. The new postwar plans of the Decca Record Company concerning the engagement of many well-known musicians and singers are outlined. In addition to the biographical sketch of Giulia Grisi, another about the soprano Guiditta Pasta is offered. The withdrawal of funds causing the demise of the Orchestre des Etudiants de Paris is lamented.

Reviews deal with concert life in Paris, summer festivals in Paris, Versailles and the Bath Assembly music festival, the Carl Rosa Opera Company’s production of Cherubini’s Water Carrier, new brass band recordings and reviews of current books about music.