PROFESSOR SPALDING fills a long-felt need in his historical review of the men and events connected with music at Harvard. The object of his book, as set forth on the jacket, "is to set before the students and alumni of Harvard and also before those who may be interested in the development of music in America, the significant part which Harvard played in this progress."
Beginning far back in colonial and revolutionary times, Professor Spalding traces our musical history under its various headings -- the University Choir and Glee Club, the University Orchestra, the Department of Music, and the Instrumental Clubs. He includes discussion of Harvard men who have become famous as composers, singers, players of music.
John Knowles Paine, the father of the Music Department, for whom Paine Hall was named, is credited with establishing the Department on the firm ground it rests upon today. Accepted as a valuable, even indispensable division of the University now, apparently there were tremendous obstacles in the path of its far-seeing founders. "Even so great a man as Francis Parkman," says Spalding, "an artist in his own sphere, is said to have been fond of exclaiming in Corporation meetings, after reading the annual budget, "Musica delenda est!"
Thanks to enlightened Presidents Hill, Eliot, and Lowell, however, the music Department has survived, and with it those organizations which lend so much to the pleasure and prestige of Harvard life. Professor Spalding neglects no aspect of music here, happily complimenting the Harvard band and its great Leroy Anderson for their part. The work was not at all easy to perform -- assembling the data and information on his subject -- and Professor Spalding offers a highly interesting treatment of it. There are a good many fine illustrations.