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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 6, No. 9 July 14, 1943

Music and Pictorial Art

Music and Pictorial Art

The relation between music and painting, a subject providing scope for slender allusions and never-very-deep examination was lightly and charmingly treated by Mr. T. J. Young (Training College) in a talk given in the series sponsored by the Stud. Ass, Exec.

Mr. Young had brought along coloured reproductions of paintings of several periods and records from the Columbia History of Music (whose compiler, Percy Scholes, makes frequent allusions to the parallels between the two arts).

He compared a Bach rondeau in its pristine formalness to a classical Italian painting which is probably familiar to far more people than the Bach rondeau, but whose painter I regret to say I forget. Or wasn't it Raphael? Anyway it was a pertinent parallel of a sort, though I might have chosen something more rococo myself. Then he came forward to the romantics, and immediately felt at home, for there are no files on Mr. Young, and he can debunk sentimental romanticism as well as anyone we know. A choice of cheap and nasty pictures typical of the nineteenth century at its worst gave him the chance to overstate [unclear] case on which he has strong feelings—the case of a practical musician who daily sees what harm the romantic movement did to the popular conception of music. Here he was getting on to something vital, and I would very much like to hear him speak more fully of the reaction of the present generation against music in general because (a) they are in no mood for the sentimentality of the 19th century music, (b) they see little good in the "modern music" that resulted from the rebellion against romanticism, (c) they are not fortunate enough to be fully equipped to understand and value the music of the classical and renaissance periods.

Mr. Young made out a case against romanticism which he would put more mildly in another context, but which it is proper for any musician to prosecute if he has the welfare of present-day music at heart.

Then we had some impressionist paintings and some impressionist music, a more specific and allowable parallel than those so far drawn, because it is easier to pin down. And finally some modern music (Edgar Varese) of the unbelievable kind, and some impressionist painting (Kadinsky and others) all of which Mr. Young sanely presented without the stupid guffaws of the philistine or the adulation of the arty maniac who believes in the moderns alone.