By ALEC ROBERTSON THE CHORAL TRADITION, by Percy M. Young (Hutchinson, 45s.).
THE greater part of this book
-which appears to be the first of its kind, in English, to be wholly devoted to the choral tradition is concerned with church music and oratorio.
Dr. Percy Young, in the space of about 300 pages manages to give the reader not only a clear and interesting picture of the development of choral music. sacred and secular, from the 16th century to the present day, but also to include fairly lengthy and detailed analyses of the better known works which he discusses. mere is a generous supply of musical illustrations in the text of this very well printed book.
ALARGE number of other works mentioned are given a few lines of description. The author naturally has to be selective, but 1 was sorry that in the section on 20th century choral music he could not find room for mention of the church music of Berkeley, Rubbra and Milner. Dr. Young shows first hand knowledge of the wide range of music he covers, and his views, coming from an experienced choral conductor, are of value; but if he was better informed about the true nature of the Mass he would not have written "the crisis in any Mass lies in the treatment of the Crucifixion" in relation to Tayerner's setting of passus et sepultus est in the Credo of the "Westron Wynde" Mass. He is also inconsistent In praising the Morn Proprio on one page and on another telling the reader that "Mozart's genius is not to be confined to a liturgiologist's set of arbitrary rules but . . the latter should adapt his point of view". Why only his! The section on the 20th century, with its descriptions even though brief-of works by Janacek, Kodaly, Stravinsky, Schrenberg, Hoist, Vaughan Williams, Delius, Orff. Lambert, and some American composers such as Dello Joio, is most valuable.
The book has an excellent index, and a bibliography, evidently too hastily compiled, and should do much to encourage more music lovers to support choral music and even to join choral societies and church choirs.