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(London, 1947-1952)

Prepared by Liesbeth Hoedemaeker
1 volume (2003)

Published quarterly from Autumn 1947 to June 1952, Music-Survey is generally recognized as an invaluable source of information on music and musical life in post-war Britain. Volume one was edited by Donald Mitchell (b.1925); later volumes were published under the joint editorship of Mitchell and Hans Keller (1919-1985). Both shared two goals for the journal, namely, to create a publication that expressed opinions and tastes markedly different from those in the contemporary press, and, to recognize the significance of twelve-tone music.

Donald Mitchell the well-known English writer on music and music critic was, as a young man, quite concerned about what he viewed as “the awful parochialism of English musical life [and] the complacent provinciality of the opinion-makers.” For Music-Survey Mitchell wrote editorials, reviews and articles, some about compositions by Britten and Schoenberg. Viennese born Hans Keller fled to England in 1938 where he became active in London’s musical life. His motivation, with respect to the journal, was to defend “great or substantial composers whom our musical world neglected.” For Music-Survey he wrote numerous reviews of books, new music, concerts and performances of operas. Of particular interest are his articles on film music and those dealing with Schoenberg and Britten.

The principal articles deal with a wide variety of subjects ranging from biographies to analyses of specific compositions, to more contemplative subjects dealing with twelve-tone music. Shorter articles treat, for example, “Musical Life in Australia,” “Opera in Italy,” and “Aspects of American Musical Life.” The journal’s opening articles are followed by a number of titled columns containing reviews of newly-published scores, concerts of new music and first performances of compositions.

There are a large number of reviews of music by British post-war composers, both well known (such as Humphrey Searle, William Alwyn, Michael Tippett and Alan Rawsthorne) and lesser known (such as Leighton Lucas and Robin Milford). The most frequently encountered columns are titled “Film Music,” “Schoenberg,” “Reviews of Music,” “Book Reviews,” “Concerts and/or Opera,” “Gramophone Records,” and “Correspondence.” The “Concerts and Opera” columns focus on concerts for the most part in London (Albert Hall, Chelsea Town Hall, and Wigmore Hall), Liverpool and Manchester; and, operas performed at Covent Garden and Sadler’s Wells. The “Gramophone Records” column offers reviews not only of performances but also of technical recordings issues (e.g., distortion in 78 RPM recordings). Other columns deal with foreign periodicals, music festivals, and radio broadcasting. The periodicals column reports both on the general nature of several journals—including Melos, Das Musikleben, Die Musikforschung, Musica, Musik und Gesellschaft, and Schweizerische Musikzeitung—and on the contents of specific issues of Contrepoints, La Rassegna musicale, Chord and Discord, and The Music Review. The “Festivals” column treats activities in Cheltenham, Frankfurt, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Leeds, Chester, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Florence and Bayreuth, as well as the festivals of the International Society for Contemporary Music.

Some forty-four articles deal with the works of composers Paul Hindemith, Wilfrid Mellers, Benjamin Britten, Igor Stravinsky, Vincent d’Indy, Arnold Schoenberg, Edward Elgar, Richard Arnell, Lennox Berkeley, Benjamin Frankel, Bernard van Dieren, William Wordsworth, André Casanova, Luigi Dallapiccola, Arnold Cooke, Matyas Seiber and Constant Lambert. There are also two special issues, one devoted to Britten, and the other to Schoenberg.