Letter from Walter Hartley

July 7, 1951 | Filed under: Yorkshire Post

Sir, – Mr. Bennett’s letter supporting your critic’s remarks on the attendance at the Y.S.O. Concert impels me to offer the suggestion that we are not likely to secure support for contemporary English music by means of reports and comments which may be offensive to those who have yet to learn to appreciate the merits of much modern music.

Mr Bradbury’s facetious remark about “the conductor standing on his hands” calls forth the reply that there is nothing to prevent Mr. Miles standing on his feet and giving the citizens of Leeds the music which they will come to hear. It is very disappointing to find that so large a city as Leeds cannot provide an audience to give contemporary English music a hearing, but sir, the citizens of Leeds are, I believe, the people who are “paying the piper,” therefore it is not surprising that they are evidently insisting on calling the tune.

If the very small minority of rate-payers who enjoy modern and “ultra-modern” music are provided with special fare at the expense of the vast majority of others, I feel that sarcastic comments are not called for, neither are they in very good taste. Surely we must have in mind the fact that the public demand is not for “pills,” either “sugar-coated” or otherwise (vide Mr. Bennett’s letter), but rather, for good music of which there is an enormous amount available. It would appear to be presumption to regard the work of the great masters of bygone days as “sugar-coating” for the highly beneficial “pills” of our present-day composers. – Yours, etc.,

WALTER HARTLEY.

5, Ingledew Crescent, Roundhay, Leeds, 8.