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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 10. August, 7, 1946

Students Fill Concert Chamber to Hear Lili Kraus-Pianist

Students Fill Concert Chamber to Hear Lili Kraus-Pianist

On Thursday last, in the Town Hall Concert Chamber, one of the greatest pianists of our time played works by Bach. Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Bartok. To the music of Lili Kraus, no words of mine could do justice. To reduce her recital to a conglomeration of musicological jargon would be unpardonable. Not only was her technique effortless, her interpretation considered, and her presence charming, but her choice of programme revealed her as one with an infallible sense of fitness. How easily she might have gained cheap applause with a few showy trifles! Perhaps Lili Kraus alone, of all the musicians who have visited New Zealand, played fully adult programmes to all her audiences.

In retrospect, it is perhaps this demonstration of the maturity of taste amongst New Zealand audiences, as evidenced in their attendances, that is the most valuable feature of her tour. It is to he hoped that its influence on musical programmes in this country will be with us when all that remains of her conceit is a dim memory of a half-forgotten youth.

New Zealanders are vain—and it is a consequence of their vanity that they dislike being "played down to." Much good music comes to us in our radio programmes. It covers a very wide repertoire, and the extensive use of recordings sets a standard of performance that is seldom reached where the majority of performances are "live." All too often the visiting artist assumes that our distance from Europe is cultural as well as physical. We can heartily endorse the reported statement of Lili Kraus' husband. Dr. Mandl, when he says "the world is round, and these two small islands form as good a centre as anywhere else." Appreciation of this fact has been no small part of her success.

There is another point raised at the recital which must not be forgotten—the point raised by Professor Wood. It is intolerable that we should be unable to offer the hospitality of the College to a distinguished visitor. The Concert Chamber holds 600 people. There was no difficulty in filling it, and the College is still growing. Is it too much to ask that the hall in our new Students' Association building will seat 1,000? This is a matter which affects the College as well as the students. There are many occasions when all members of the College should meet together.

All doubt as to the desire amongst students for the best our civilisation has to offer is now removed. First the Maurice Clare recital, and now the Lili Kraus concert, has shown that the response is forthcoming when the quality of the offering is beyond doubt. This should be an incentive to all College clubs to raise standards, and to establish contacts with the best talent outside the walls of VUC. Attempts must be made by the College as a College to patronise the best in other arts besides music—the drama, painting, poetry, and the cinema come to mind at once. Only on an occasion such as this are the barriers separating the different faculties swept aside, the narrow aims of training for a profession forgotten, and the University able to stand forth as a University. Our debt to Lili Kraus is manifold. She has helped us to discover ourselves.