On Thursday, February 13th, a small party from the Sixth Form was present at one of the lecture concerts which are given in the Baths Hall for elementary school children of Walthamstow..
The programmes are arranged by Walter Mudie, the Borough Director of Music, who conducts the orchestra at these concerts. On this occasion the works being performed were the overture to Der Freischutz by Weber, Tchaikowsky's Nutcracker Suite, the overture to The Flying Dutchman by Wagner, and the Hungarian March from Faust by Berlioz.
Before the performance of each work Mr. Mudie spoke briefly, and in the simplest terms, on its significance, and made individual instruments play the tunes which formed the ground work of the composition. The works had each been selected as illustrating the range, the tone, and the dramatic possibilities of some instrument or, section of the orchestra. Thus the Weber overture was chosen principally as offering two striking examples of the use of the French horns, while the Nutcracker Suite, as well as affording examples of the use of trumpets, flutes, and harp, contained a typical Russian Trepak. The Hungarian March contained an easily recognised and understood instance of the dramatic use of the trombone and the percussion section of the orchestra.
We feel that other boys of this School would enjoy these lecture concerts and would derive from them considerable benefit.
On Tuesday, March 10th, Alderman Miss E. M. Pracy, B.Sc., visited the School and gave the Fifth and Sixth Forms a lecture on the impressions she had gained during a visit to Russia last year.
During the lecture Miss Pracy emphasised the complete freedom enjoyed by tourists in Russia, and exploded the idea so common in this country that the Soviet Government allows foreigners to see only those parts of Russia and Russian life it thinks fit. Miss Pracy briefly described the housing conditions she saw in Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, and Kharkov. She said that although the conditions at present are not on the whole good, overcrowding being prevalent, especially in Moscow, the exploitation of natural resources for building materials, the increasing supply of skilled labour, and the growing amount of money allocated to housing by the Government are all helping to remove the pre-revolutionary slums and also the hastily-constructed flats of the days immediately following the revolution.
The workers, she explained, do not regard the Five Year Plans as schemes prepared by a governing class in which they have no interest, but as a definite stage in the Great Revolution in which each individual has a part to play. Miss Pracy also spoke of the thirst for knowledge which is common to all types of workers, and said that only the shortage of paper peventcd the printing of more books.
A few boys stayed behind after the lecture, and Miss Pracy explained in greater detail some of the points which had arisen and also answered many questions.
The third Courtauld-Sargent Concert of the season held on December 9th, was devoted to works for chamber orchestra. The concert started with a Symphony in B flat by Dr. William Boyce, the eighteenth century English composer. Then came Weber's Concerto in F minor for clarinet and orchestra, the soloist being Mr.Reginald Kell. The soloist in the Bach violin Concerto, that in E major, which followed was Paul Beard, the celebrated leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert ended with a Serenade for Thirteen Wind Instruments by Mozart and a performance of Schubert's Fifth Symphony.
The conductor at the next concert, which took place on February 10th was Fritz Stiedry, the famous Austrian conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. This was his first appearance in England. Although conductor and orchestra did not seem to work together very well at first, the performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was worthy of praise. The most important item was the first concert performance in England of a Symphony by Hindemith entitled Mathis, der Maler. The work was in three movements: 1, Concert of Angels; 2, Sepulture; 3, Temptation of Saint Anthony; these being the titles of three paintings by Matthias Grunewald, the great sixteenth century German artist, with which the moverrtents are emotionally associated. The other work performed was Symphony No. 38 in D, by Mozart.
The fifth concert was devoted to choral works. First there was the noted Stabat Mater for double chorus unaccompanied, by Palestrina, and then Berlioz' L'Enfance du Christ. The outstanding soloists in the latter work were Isobel Bailie, Roy Henderson, and Harold Williams. The conductor was Dr, Malcolm Sargent.
The short morning recitals of music have been continued this term principally by Mr. Hyde. He has played many of the shorter and simpler works of Grieg, Chopin, Brahms, Mendelsohn, Beethoven, and J.S.Bach. Besides these performances, Mr. Skinner has sung songs by Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, and Purcell; Carpenter has played Wedding Song by Grieg; Lempriere has played Csardas by V.Montie; and Manning, another of the talented violinists the School has been fortunate in possessing of late, has played Bolero by W. ten Have.
So great has been the enthusiasm over some of the performances that the School has temporarily ignored instructions and has applauded loudly. While not wishing to acquiesce in the breaking of a rule, we would venture to suggest that this is evidence that these short recitals are achieving their aim, the popularising of good music.
It has been brought to our notice that a boy in one of the lower forms closed a letter to his parents advertising The Piratess of Penzance thus: "The orchestra will be directed by Mr. Belchambers, so it will he a comic, opera."
Extract from a detention essay on War in Africa: "The King of Italy has had his wedding-ring melted down, as well as the lower classes."
Speaking at one of the meetings of the British Associatioa which were held at Norwich recently, Mr. P.H.B.Lyon, the Headtmaster of Rugby, gave vent to his feelings on "crooners " thus:
"It is a queer world when a sleek, silky-voiced lounge-lizard can perpetrate a few quatrains of noxious slush to the tawdry and temporary affections seeking satisfaction, and be forthwith accepted by the toleration of the whole of a manly generation, while the great spirits of the world, building immortal verse out of their hearts' stuff, in poverty, in blindness, in despair, sing to them in vain."
We print this in the hope that it may provoke some jazz enthusiast or budding crooner to reply to Mr. Lyon through the pages of the Monovian.
There is now no excuse for any boy who does not know what is "on" at School, or what school our XI's are playing. Neat calendars in still neater red and black cases are provided at the modest price of 4.5d.
During the term, a Flower and Tree Competition was held; prizes were offered for the most numerous and best arranged collection of specimens of flowers and foliage. The winner of the Flower Section, D.H.Bayes, had collected three hundred different specimens. Entries were so good that two consolation prizes were given in addition to those offered.
On Friday, Nov. 6th, Mr. Bekhor, a friend of Mr. Chittock (a parent), gave a cinematograph show to an appreciative audience. The programme included athletic and interest films, a drama, a comedy, and an experimental colour film. The show was excellent, and we feel that those who were absent missed a splendid evening. The performance was given entirely free, and the proceeds were handed to the Sports Fund. Our best thanks are due to Mr. Bekhor and to Mr. Chittock.
We wish to record our thanks for the space and consideration given us by the local press. No Monoux boy or parent or Old Boy need be ignorant of the "Activities of the Monoux School."
On Monday, July 20th, a large party went to Winchester to view the famous school founded by Wm. de Wykeham, and the cathedral, thence to Eastleigh for a most interesting though quite deafening tour of the Southern Railway's works (which included the inspection of engines), and finally to Southampton
for tea and a distant view of the Queen Mary. The trip was most enjoyable and, we hope, as instructive to others as it was to us. We thank Mr. Arthur for arranging this second visit, which we hope will be one of many.
We have been privileged to hear two lectures during this term from experts on widely divergent subjects.
Mr. J. C. Leslie, M.A., B.Sc.(Agr.), Principal of the Agricultural Institute at Chelmsford, came to give us some firsthand information on the prospects for secondary school boys in the various spheres of farming. After giving a brief outline of the geology of Essex, he explained the particular types of crops or cattle for which the various areas were suited.
He then described in some detail modern methods of farming, and the need for experts. Finally, he told us that there were required not only men with university degrees but also boys with the General School Certificate and an average amount of common sense. No boy, he said, could pass through the Institute at Chelmsford and find himself without a post "unless he is a first-class dud!"
Mr. P.J.Noel-Baker, M,P,, who was speaking in Walthamstow during the term, gave us a most interesting and live lecture on the work of The League of Nations. He said that nowadays, when radio had brought races into intimate contact, and aircraft had brought Australia (to-day) nearer to London than Scotland was 100 years ago, the need for international co-operation and law is greater than ever before. Indeed, without them, civilisation would be wiped out.
As examples of the League's powers, Mr. Noel-Baker cited the Graeco-Bulgarian dispute of 1920, and the League Commission, of which he himself was a member, for the release of prisoners in Russia during the years after the Great War. Over half a million were freed in a comparatively short time. If only the Powers would support the League and not merely criticise it, he felt sure that greater things than those would be achieved. Governments were afraid of one another, but the vast majority of the peoples wanted peace.
Referring to the horrors of aerial warfare, Mr. Noel-Baker quoted the words of a war-pilot:
" I tell you diplomats that the pilots I fought with in the last war do not want to fight and bomb cities."
The lecturer closed with an appeal to boys to place their faith in the League, and to support it.
We hope that the prolonged applause meant determination to take to heart what had been said.