The problem of program-planning has received much publicity of late, with musicians and critics agitating strenuously for an expansion of repertoires to bring to light some of the vast literature of undeservedly neglected music. This is a question of greatest importance to the musical public, for music is unique among the arts in its inaccessibility. Only a few highly trained musicians can read scores with as much pleasure as they get from a performance, and though recorded music has provided us with a few musical musecums, actual performances are still the chief means of bringing music to life.
The type of concerts which we shall hear is determined by the taste of the audiences and of the musicians themselves. Public attitude may vary from open-mouthed admiration of technical flash and display which considers music a medium for vocal and instrumental acrobatics, to the most discriminating intellectual interest in the music itself. Of course, these public demands are answered by corresponding types of musical supply. For instance, the concert of the Oslo University Chorus on Saturday evening catered frankly, and rather pleasantly, to the love which everyone has for ear-tickling vocalism without much fuss about the selection of the music itself. The demands of the opposite type are a little harder to satisfy, especially in the case of a professional musician who, though he may favor more discrimination and enterprise in the selection of his concert lists, is forced to conform to the taste of the greater part of the public which supports him. In the case of an amateur or professional who performs for the benefit of a small, select audience, the problem is much simpler. Here the planner is under no obligation to a public and is perfectly free--within the limits set by the ability and numbers of the forces at hand--to choose works from the entire literature of music. When concerts of this type are given by musicians of high calibre, the result, though often a little on the intellectual side, can be most excellent. For instance, a program like Mile. Boulange's last Wednesday remains stimulating and exciting to the very end even though the performance may not be A-1 in every respect. Programs by professional musicians of the calibre of Mrs. French are fairly plentiful in Boston, and the frequent concerts by both amateurs and professionals around the College-such as the excellent recital by Rulon Robinson in Paine Hall yesterday--are often both interesting and well performed. These small concerts really do not receive the attention they merit. There is plenty of room for reform in the concert-planing of most musicians, but even a large part of that music which is receiving attention from musicians is comparatively unknown to the average layman, and as long as we neglect the small-scale idioms were are missing some of the most delightful experiences which music has to offer.