Great curiosity has been evinced this term in a glass cupboard, which stands in the top corridor outside the Staff Room. It provides the best excuse yet conceived for small boys who are reluctant to descend the stairs during break. This, however, was not its original purpose. It was instituted as a historical museum, and already contains many well-made models. There is a very realistic galleon, a Greek theatre, various ancient dwellings, an aeroplane, and, finally, a model of a Sumerian Ziggurat, which more closely resembles a Sumerian Ziggurat than anything we have ever seen, except, perhaps, a Sumerian Ziggurat! Models must have some connection with History, and should be given to Mr. Watson or Mr. Ellis.
Sincere congratulations are due to R.C.Jennings, who, by winning an Exhibition to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, persuaded the Governors to award a day's holiday on the Tuesday following the mid-term holiday.
Certain members of the Sixth Form, who have shown great interest in the Spanish Civil War since the beginning, gave practical proof of their concern during the term. After persuading the Headmaster that their motives were non-political, they appealed for money and food for the unfortunate Spanish capitals. Two gigantic posters in the lobbies and a moving extempore address by Cluff had good effect in the School, and a substantial collection of money and foodstuffs was included in the provisions taken to Spain in Earl Kinnoull's trawler.
A visit to Portsmouth on March 23rd has been arranged by Mr. Arthur, and over 150 boys are included in the party. In addition, about 20 parents are accompanying them. Judging from the enjoyment derived from previous excursions of this type, we are sure the visit will be an unqualified success.
Rehearsals have begun for a play to be produced by Mr. Hyde,The Farmer's Wife, by Eden Philpotts.
On February 3rd and 10th, Mr. Hammer used the periods preceding Senior School games most profitably and entertainingly with a lecture on present-day Germany. Actually, it had been given before at a meeting of the League of Nations Union, but we feel sure that Mr. Hammer's apologies to those who had heard it before were unnecessary. On the former date, he dealt with Germany's attitude to Hitler's regime, and said, in effect, that the regime has achieved great things, for Germany and is welcomed for its efforts towards equality, but that the forced hypocrisy of much of its pomp is unpopular, as also are most of Hitler's sateilites. In the second lecture, Mr. Hammer illustrated very amusingly the growth of political jokes, but added that all criticism of the arts is prohibited, while constructive criticism, as opposed to destructive, is countenanced. The universities and churches object, he said, to the rigour of the non Aryan ban, and the Roman Catholics are a stabilizing force in Germany to-day. With regard to her foreign policy, he remarked especially that she does not want to split with England, as was demonstrated by the frantic welcome accorded to the party who visited Germany last year.
No boy may now plead ignorance of the periods and work of the greatest composers from Bach to Debussy. Well chosen selections have been played by Mr. Hyde on the piano; Mr. Skinner's more frequent songs are widely appreciated; while J.F.Manning and N.S.Lempriere have occasionally played violin solos. We note with gratitude that attention is being paid not so much to brilliance as to accuracy and simplicity. The radio-gramophone has begun to provide other than monorhrome music. The notes on the composers read to the School by the Headmaster are useful. We hope that this pleasant system of musical instruction will be permanent, and to all those who work so hard and so constantly to provide the items we give our heartiest thanks.
At the time of going to press, fervent rehearsals for the Mikado are in progress. This Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera will be produced in the School Hall on March 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th. In conjunction with this production, a competition was organised for the best poster to advertise it, but the results are not yet known. Though the performance is, as yet, but an eagerly-awaited event, judging from the enthusiasm of Mr. Belchambers, the choir, the orchestra, and the poster artists not forgetting the creator of the effigy affixed to the School gates, we predict it will be a great success. A critique of the Mikado will appear in next term's Monovian.
The contents of the School Library were recently greatly augmented by the purchase of some three thousand books, the erstwhile property of the library of Chingford old Church. The herculean task of indexing and labelling the volumes will soon be completed, and the Library so much the richer. A collection was made in the School in order to defray part cost of the books.
On Monday, 7th December, our party enjoyed the third concert of the Courtauld-Sargent season at Queen's Hall. Egon Petri, a pupil of Busoni, was soloist in two pianoforte concerti. His playing was distinguished by thought and clarity; he indulged in no dramatic effects at the keyboard, but gave a crystal-clear and incisive interpretation. It was a special joy to hear Liszt's rarely performed Concerto No. 2 in A, which was played with precision and sureness. This does not mean that his playing lacks feeling or emotion, but merely that he eschews extravagance. Beside Mozart's Coronation Concerto, the programme included Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, a musical autobiography, and an early example of programme music, full of romantic sadness and grandeur.
The fourth concert, on Feb. 8th, opened with the Alceste Overture by Gluck, with a concert-ending by Weingartner. Beethoven's Mass in D followed. From the first thrilling opening of the Kyrie Eleison to the last passionate Dona nobis pacem, the work was one of beauty and nobility. This Mass contains in the opinion of many critics the most difficult choral passages in existence, and, indeed, the chorus-work was not without blemish. Heddle Nash, the tenor, was perhaps the most effective of the soloists, the other soloists being Isobel Baillie, Mary Jarred, and Keith Faulkner. To hear this work is an ennobling experience.
In each concert the London Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Dr. Malcolm Sargent.
Form IIg has shown great industry and ingenuity in producing this term's Form Magazine, entitled, appropriately enough, The Form IIg Magazine. It should be explained that a similar magazine was produced last term, but no copy reached us. Poems abound in this edition, but, sad to say, they are of
rather erratic metre. Three of the five articles appear to have originated in the pages of text-books. Ancient Egypt is liberally bejewelled with Egyptian names, but it is doubtful if many boys will appreciate the mysteries of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The first paragraph of The First Ships is apparently copied from an encyclopaedia, but the second is in much lighter vein, explaining very convincingly the reason for the invention of boats. We hope that the next instalment will be in the same strain as the latter paragraph. "Racefan " has written an impression of motor racing, in which he seems doubtful as to the danger involved in the sport, and "Goalie" seems very satisfied with his experiments as Form Football Captain. It is a pity that it was thought necessary to entitle every joke, "Joke," and that a ruler was not used in drawing the cover, but the magazine contains several promising features, including caricatures and a crossword puzzle, and the form is to be congratulated on its enterprise.