Norwich Musical Festival
The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular
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... -NOVEMBER I, T887. THE MUSICAL TIMES.-NOVEMBER I, T887. 659 659 themselves. It would be better for the promoters to revise the whole of their method of procedure. 'rhe best plan would be to drop the scheme altogether. M. TH£9DORE MASSIAC has lately contributed to La Figaro a long and interesting article upon the musical and dramatic agencies which abound in France, as everywhere else. Within the compass of this "Note" we cannot show the working of a system which, if M. M assiac may be credited, is degrading to the artist and demoralising to the agent. However, " business is business," and the aphorismX like charity, covers a multitude of sins. Occasionally an agent is tempted a little beyond its shelter, and puts himself in the position of an arrant rogue. M. Massiac gives several examples. On one occasion an artist was sent to fulEl an engagement in full expectation that he would fail, come back, and be good at the " office " for another commission. As a matter of fact he succeeded, whereupon the agent telegraphed to the rnanager ;' I hear that --has pleased the public. He must not succeed. Make arrangements to lrave him hissed next time." The director, in fear of the powerful office, obeyed, and the singer was soon back in Paris, and on the books for another opening. A second story tells how two vocalists and a violinist were sent into Normandy to appear at a concert. The aSair being in aid of a charity, they were asked, and consented, to go for a nominal sum, the singers receiving a hundred francs the violinist only Efty. A banquet followed the concert, and during its course the artists were complimented upon their disinterestedness. At once the Mayor intervened. "There is no question of disinterestedness," said he, " when one receives 500 francs." Imagine the astonishment of the performers as, on leaving, the Mayor paid each of the singers that sum, giving the violinist 300, according to the arrangement made with the cheating agent, whose anticipation of a good haul was thus hopelessly defeated According to M. Massiac, the whole system of French agency in matters musical and dramatic needs reform. We can well believe it. THAT modern miracle worker, Mr. Edison, is " at it again." Having got the electric light out of hand, his restless inventiveness has taken up once more with what most of us had come to regard as a discarded toy the phonograph. A few years ago we were all talking about the phonograph. They had one, of course, at the Crystal Palace, and there eminent sirigers? and others, were wont to warble into it afterwards grinding from the interior sounds supposed to be a reproduction of their most sweet voices The instrument became a niIle-days' wonder, arsd then was practically forgotten. But it remained present nto the mind of the inventor, who now claims to have made it a thing of commercial value. " A merchant who wishes to send a letter has only to set the machine in motion, and talk in his natural voice at his usual rate of speed into the receiver. When he has Enished a sheet, or phonogram, as I call it, it is ready to put into a little box made on purpose for the mails.... The receiver of the phonogram will put it into his apE)aratus, and the message will be given out more clearly than the best telephone message ever sent." This reads like an extract from modern romance of the " Coming Race " school, but what of developments that may arise ? Will singers and instrumentalists sing and play into the "receiver," and scatter examples of their skill all over the globe to order ? Will Rubinstein or little Hofmann make a tour of the world by phonogram, sitting quietly at themselves. It would be better for the promoters to revise the whole of their method of procedure. 'rhe best plan would be to drop the scheme altogether.