"English Composers and Musicians"

(Oct. 27, 1881, Issue 30336, pg. 8 col C)

Sir,— It was with great gratification that I read your appreciative article in The Times of to-day on the performance of my young friend and pupil, Mr. Eugène d'Albert at the Richter concert; but there was one phrase in the notice which I cannot but think was inadvertently introduced--that in which Herr Richter is credited with the introduction to the public of this rising young English composer, and of teaching us the true meaning of the terms "encouragement of native talent."

Mr. d'Albert had already appeared before the English public, with brilliant success, both as a composer and pianist; and with reference to the "encouragement of native talent," it is hardly just to credit one gentleman who has been with us for comparatively a short time only with accomplishing that to which several institutions and individuals in this country for many years past have successfully lent their efforts. A glance at the programmes of the provincial musical festivals will show that scarcely one meeting has taken place for years without the production of works of native composers. Coming nearer home, Mr. Manns, of the Crystal Palace, has often been praised in The Times for his steady and loyal devotion to the interests of English musicians. On this last head I may be pardoned for speaking with some personal feeling, since my first steps in my profession were taken under the fostering care of the Crystal Palace, where my earliest orchestral works, "The Tempest," &c., were produced with as much zeal and care as if they had been by Beethoven himself.

I hope, Sir, that my words will not appear ungracious towards Herr Richter, of whom, on the contrary, I would speak in high terms of praise for his encouragement and kindness to the young composer. But your critics's words seem to imply that there has hitherto been neglect and indifference to native talent on the part of those who have power and influence in the musical profession, and that it has been left to a foreigner to give the first real encouragement to a native composer. This I am most anxious to deny, and I know I am but expressing the unanimous feeling of my brother musicians.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

                    ARTHUR SULLIVAN.

9, Albert-mansions, S.W., Oct. 25.

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