-1 13 Rooke Ley
Dear listener, The Annual Festival of the O'elinary
istener—short title. the "Proms."—begins to-nieht. These concerts have a caaracter of their own. They command a special audience. The programmes repeat themselves year after year, containing few novelties, for these are not wanted, but parading the great familiar classics, which nia welcomed as though they were novelties and cheered as though they were first performances. A "Proms." audience is sometimes blamed for its exuberance. Nothing could be more mistaken. There must always be an air of hearty youth about them, and of first experience. No musical occasion calls less for the cr'heal faculty and more for the faculty of frank enjoyment. The note was struck thirty years ago, when a shy, suspicious public. was lured into listening to what would have been called high-brow music (if the word had been invented) by the simple bait of allowing it to smoke.
These first "Proms." robbed music of its solemnity and made it an enterteinment. Their unbuttoned mood persis.s. A "Proms." audience is out to enjoy itself, and always will be.
Originated hi Paris
How many people, I wonder, arc aware that if the "Proms.," as we cell them, are thirty years old, promenade concerts in London are nearly a hundred. Their centenary date will be December 12, 1938. The idea came over from Paris. Their inventor was a certain Musard, the inventor of the gallop and the sponsor of a new instrument, the cornet a piston. and their first venue was the Lyceum theatre.
Every musical innovation in those days mercial systems. that it has neglected the truth that an "inform the listener" palicy is the basis of good relationship between itself and its public. All the machinery now exists for giving the listener what he has a right to expect in this respect, and only authority is needed to set it going. We look to Sir John Reith to give the word.
Single Listening unit After (iermany—Japan. Really, this narrowing of the world into a single listening unit is the most interesting aspect of broadcasting at the moment. And the signs of its increasing employm:nt for propaganda. Japan, following the lead of Russia and Germany, is transmitting news bulletins in English every day, the object being, we are told, to present a picture of the "real Japan." Germany does it all day long; Japan confines it at present to an hour.
If you want to hear it you will have to sit up late, for it happens between 1.30 and 2.30 in the morning; but this, of course, catches certain of the colonies at a more reasonable hour.
It is the colonies for which the elaborate German system of English broadcasts principally caters. Another fact about this narrowing world is the popularity of the B.B.Ces Empire programmes in the United States.
We are told that more people listen to them in the U.S.A. than in the whole of the Empire, though, unlike these German and Japanese short-wave broadcasts, they are not intended for any propaganda purposes.
WILFRID ROOK!: Lis'.