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A Musical Decade In England

The death of King Edward has brought to our attention the somewhat unique fact that music has advanced in England during the last decade with greater rapidity than at any time since the days of Purcell. Queen Victoria was devoted to music and did much to foster the development of musical art in England. When you go to Kensington Palace do not leave without getting one of the caretakers to show you the girlhood copies of pieces made by Queen Victoria. They indicate how thorough the musical training of the late queen was. It is not surprising that her son should have taken an unusual interest in music, and the development of the art during his reign was, it is believed, largely due to the encouragement which Edward VIII invariably gave to music. When the Royal College of Music was opened, in 1883, the king—then Prince of Wales—made the following significant address:
"The time has come when class can no longer stand aloof from class, and that man does his duty best who works most earnestly in bridging over the gulf between different classes which it is the tendency of increased wealth and increased civilization to widen. I claim for music the merit that it has a voice which speaks in different tones perhaps, but with equal force, to the cultivated and to the ignorant, to the peer and the peasant. I claim for music a variety of expression which belongs to no other art, and therefore adapts it more than any other art to produce that union of feeling which I much desire to promote. Lastly, I claim for music the distinction which is awarded to it by Addison—that it is the only sensual pleasure in which excess cannot be injurious. What more, gentlemen, can I say on behalf of the art for the promotion of which we are to-day opening this institution, which I trust will give to music a new impulse, a glorious future and a national life."

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You are reading A Musical Decade In England from the August, 1910 issue of The Etude Magazine.

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