To Robert P. Morgan

In September 1955, the veteran British critic Ernest Newman, in his weekly Sunday Times column, summed up for readers what he saw as the failure of “advanced” music in the mid-twentieth century:

The more “advanced” composers of today seem to many people to be concentrating on writing music which the malcontents describe angrily as “cerebral”—a manipulation of notes for pure manipulation's sake, disregardful of any appeal to a public hungry for satisfaction of what it calls its “heart.” To most of this music, and the new values implied in it, the public has long put up, and still puts up, a stubborn resistance. I make no comment on that fact; I simply record it as a fact.1

Newman's Times column, for all his show of critical objectivity in...

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