Misinforming a Nation/Chapter 07
There is one field of culture — namely, music — in which Great Britain has played so small and negligible a part that it would seem impossible, even for the passionately patriotic editors of the Encyclopædia Britannica, to find any basis on which an impressive monument to England could be erected. Great Britain, admittedly, possesses but slight musical significance when compared with other nations. The organisms of her environment, the temper of her intellect, her very intellectual fibre, are opposed to the creation of musical composition.
This art in England, save during the Elizabethan era, has been largely a by-product. No great musical genius has come out of Great Britain; and in modern times she has not produced even a great second-rate composer. So evident is England's deficiency in this field, that any one insisting upon it runs the risk of being set down a platitudinarian. Even British critics of the better class have not been backward in admitting the musical poverty of their nation; and many good histories of music have come out of England: indeed, one of the very best encyclopædias on this subject was written by Sir George Grove.
To attempt to place England on an equal footing with other nations in the realm of music is to alter obvious facts. Name all the truly great composers since 1700, and not one of them will be an Englishman. In fact, it is possible to write an extensive history of music from that date to the present time without once referring to Great Britain. England, as the, world knows, is not a musical nation. Her temperament is not suited to subtle complexities of plastic harmonic expression. Her modern composers are without importance; and for every one of her foremost musical creators there can be named a dozen from other nations who are equally inspired, and yet who hold no place in the world's musical evolution because of contemporary fellow-countrymen who overshadow them.
As I have said, it would seem impossible, even for so narrowly provincial and chauvinistic a work as the Encyclopædia Britannica, to find any plausible basis for the glorification of English musical genius. But where others fail to achieve the impossible, the Britannica succeeds. In the present instance, however, the task has been difficult, for there is a certain limit to the undeserved praise which even a blatant partisan can confer on English composers; and there is such a paucity of conspicuous names in the British musical field that an encyclopædia editor finds it difficult to gather enough of them together to make an extensive patriotic showing. He can, however, omit or neglect truly significant names of other nations while giving undue prominence to second- and third-rate English composers.
And this is exactly the method followed by the editors of the Britannica. But the disproportionments are so obvious, the omissions so glaring, and the biographies and articles so distorted, both as to space and comment, that almost any one with a knowledge of music will be immediately struck by their absurdity and injustice. Modern musical culture, as set forth in this encyclopædia, is more biased than any other branch of culture. In this field the limits of the Britannica's insularity would seem to have been reached.
I have yet to see even a short history of modern music which is not more informative and complete, and from which a far better idea of musical evolution could not be gained. And I know of no recent book of composers, no matter how brief, which does not give more comprehensive information concerning musical writers than does that “supreme book of knowledge,” the Encyclopædia Britannica. So deficient is it in its data, and so many great and significant modern composers are denied biographical mention in it, that one is led to the conclusion that little or no effort was made to bring it up-to-date.
It would be impossible in this short chapter to set down anywhere near all the inadequacies, omissions and disproportions which inform the Britannica's treatment of music. Therefore I shall confine myself largely to modern music, since this subject is of foremost, vital concern at present; and I shall merely indicate the more glaring instances of incompleteness and neglect. Furthermore, I shall make only enough comparisons between the way in which British music is treated and the way in which the music of other nations is treated, to indicate the partisanship which underlies the outlook of this self-styled “international” and “universal” reference work.
Let us first regard the general article Music. In that division of the article entitled, Recent Music — that is, music during the last sixty or seventy-five years — we find the following astonishing division of space: recent German music receives just eleven lines; recent French music, thirty-eight lines, or less than half a column; recent Italian music, nineteen lines; recent Russian music, thirteen lines; and recent British music, nearly four columns, or two full pages!
Regard these figures a moment. That period of German musical composition which embraced such men as Humperdinck, Richard Strauss, Karl Goldmark, Hugo Wolf, Gustav Mahler, Bruch, Reinecke, and von Bülow, is allotted only eleven lines, and only two of the above names are even mentioned! And yet modern British music, which is of vastly lesser importance, is given thirty-five times as much space as modern German music, and ten times as much space as modern French music! In these figures we have an example of prejudice and discrimination which it would be hard to match in any other book or music in existence. It is unnecessary to criticise such bias: the figures themselves are more eloquently condemning than any comment could possibly be. And it is to this article on recent music, with its almost unbelievable distortions of relative importance, that thousands of Americans will apply for information. Furthermore, in the article Opera there is no discussion of modern realistic developments, and the names of Puccini and Charpentier are not even included!
In the biographies of English composers is to be encountered the same sort of prejudice and exaggeration. Sterndale Bennett, the inferior British Mendelssohn, is given nearly a column, and in the criticism of him we read: “The principal charm of Bennett's compositions (not to mention his absolute mastery of the musical form) consists in the tenderness of their conception, rising occasionally to sweetest musical intensity.” Turning from Bennett, the absolute master of form, to William Thomas Best, the English organist, we find nearly a half-column biography of fulsome praise, in which Best is written down as an “all-round musician.” Henry Bishop receives two-thirds of a column. “His melodies are clear, flowing, appropriate and often charming; and his harmony is always pure, simple and sweet.”
Alfred Cellier is accorded nearly half a column, in which we are told that his music was “invariably distinguished by elegance and refinement.” Frederick Cowen also wrote music which was “refined”; and in his three-fourths-of-a-column biography it is stated that “he succeeds wonderfully in finding graceful expression for the poetical idea.” John Field infused “elegance” into his music. His biography is over half a column in length, and we learn that his nocturnes “remain all but unrivaled for their tenderness and dreaminess of conception, combined with a continuous flow of beautiful melody.”
Edward Elgar receives no less than two-thirds of a column, in which are such phrases as “fine work,” “important compositions,” and “stirring melody.” Furthermore, his first orchestral symphony was “a work of marked power and beauty, developing the symphonic form with the originality of a real master of his art.” The world outside of England will be somewhat astonished to know that Elgar took part in the development of the symphonic form and that he was a real master of music. John Hatton, in a two-thirds-of-a-column biography, is praised, but not without reservation. He might, says the article, have gained a place of higher distinction among English composers “had it not been for his irresistible animal spirits and a want of artistic reverence.” He was, no doubt, without the “elegance” and “refinement” which seem to characterize so many English composers.
But Charles Parry evidently had no shortcomings to detract from his colossal and heaven-kissing genius. He is given a biography of nearly a column, and it is packed with praise. In some of his compositions to sacred words “are revealed the highest qualities of music.” He has “skill in piling up climax after climax, and command of every choral resource.” But this is not all. In some of his works “he shows himself master of the orchestra”; and his “exquisite” chamber music and part-songs “maintain the high standard of his greater works.” Not even here does his genius expire. Agamemnon “is among the most impressive compositions of the kind.” Furthermore, The Frogs is a “striking example of humor in music.” All this would seem to be enough glory for any man, but Parry has not only piled Pelion on Ossa but has scaled Olympus. Outside his creative music, “his work for music was of the greatest importance”; his Art of Music is a “splendid monument of musical literature.” . . . There is even more of this kind of eulogy — too much of it to quote here; but, once you read it, you cannot help feeling that the famous triumvirate, Brahms, Bach and Beethoven, has now become the quartet, Brahms, Bach, Beethoven, and Parry.
The vein of William Shield's melody “was conceived in the purest and most delicate taste”; and his biography is half a column in length. Goring Thomas is accorded two-thirds of a column; and it is stated that not only does his music reveal “a great talent for dramatic composition and a real gift of refined and beautiful melody,” but that he was “personally the most admirable of men.” Michael Costa, on the other hand, was evidently not personally admirable, for in his half-column biography we read: “He was the great conductor of his day, but both his musical and his human sympathies were somewhat limited.” (Costa was a Spaniard by birth.) Samuel Wesley, Jr.'s, anthems are “masterly in design, fine in inspiration and expression, and noble in character.” His biography runs to half a column. Even Wesley, Sr., has a third of a column biography.
The most amazing biography from the standpoint of length, however, is that of Sir Arthur Sullivan. It runs to three and a third columns (being much longer than Haydn's!) and is full of high praise of a narrowly provincial character. Thomas Attwood receives a half-column biography; Balfe, the composer of The Bohemian Girl, receives nearly a column; Julius Benedict, two-thirds of a column; William Jackson, nearly two-thirds of a column; Mackenzie, over three-fourths of a column; John Stainer, two-thirds of a column; Charles Stanford, nearly a column; Macfarren, over half a column; Henry Hugo Pierson, half a column; John Hullah, considerably over half a column; William Crotch, over half a column; Joseph Barnby, nearly half a column; John Braham, two-thirds of a column. And many others of no greater importance receive liberal biographies — for instance, Frederic Clay, John Barnett, George Elvey, John Goss, MacCunn, James Turk, and William Vincent Wallace.
Bearing all this in mind, we will now glance at the biographies of modern German composers in the Encyclopædia Britannica. Johann Strauss, perhaps the greatest of all waltz writers, is given only half a column, less space than that given to John Field or William Crotch; and the only criticism of his music is contained in the sentence: “In Paris he associated himself with Musard, whose quadrilles became not much less popular than his own waltzes; but his greatest successes were achieved in London.” Hummel, the most brilliant virtuoso of his day, whose concertos and masses are still popular, receives less space than John Hatton.
But what of Brahms, one of the three great composers of the world? Incredible as it may seem, he is given a biography even shorter than that of Sir Arthur Sullivan! And Robert Franz, perhaps the greatest lyrical writer since Schubert, receives considerably less space than William Jackson. Richard Strauss is allotted only a column and two-thirds, about equal space with Charles Burney, the musical historian, and William Byrd; and in it we are given little idea of his greatness. In fact, the critic definitely says that it remains to be seen for what Strauss's name will live! When one thinks of the tremendous influence which Strauss has had, and of the way in which he has altered the musical conceptions of the world, one can only wonder, astounded, why, in an encyclopædia as lengthy as the Britannica, he should be dismissed with so inadequate and inept a biography.
After such injustice in the case of Strauss, it does not astonish one to find that Max Bruch, one of the most noteworthy figures in modern German music, and Reinecke, an important composer and long a professor at the Leipsic Conservatory, should receive only thirty lines each. But the neglect of Strauss hardly prepared us for the brief and incomplete record which passes for Humperdinck's biography a biography shorter than that of Cramer, William Hawes, Henry Lazarus, the English clarinettist, and Henry Smart!
Mendelssohn, the great English idol, receives a biography out of all proportion to his importance — a biography twice as long as that of Brahms, and considerably longer than either Schumann's or Schubert's! And it is full of effulgent praise and more than intimates that Mendelssohn's counterpoint was like Bach's, that his sonata-form resembled Beethoven's, and that he invented a new style no less original than Schubert's! Remembering the parochial criterion by which the Encyclopædia's editors judge art, we may perhaps account for this amazing partiality to Mendelssohn by the following ludicrous quotation from his biography: “His earnestness as a Christian needs no stronger testimony than that afforded by his own delineation of the character of St. Paul; but it is not too much to say that his heart and life were pure as those of a little child.”
Although Hugo Wolf's biography is a column and a half in length, Konradin Kreutzer gets only eighteen lines; Nicolai, who wrote The Merry Wives of Windsor, only ten lines; Suppé, only fifteen; Nessler, only twelve; Franz Abt, only ten; Henselt, only twenty-six; Heller, only twenty-two; Lortzing, only twenty; and Thalberg, only twenty-eight. In order to realize how much prejudice, either conscious or unconscious, entered into these biographies, compare the amounts of space with those given to the English composers above mentioned. Even Raff receives a shorter biography than Mackenzie; and von Bülow's and Goldmark's biographies are briefer than Cowen's.
But where the Encyclopædia Britannica shows its utter inadequacy as a guide to modern music is in the long list of omission. For instance, there is no biography of Marschner, whose Hans Heiling still survives in Germany; of Friedrich Silcher, who wrote most of the famous German “folk-songs”; of Gustav Mahler, one of the truly important symphonists of modern times; of the Scharwenka brothers; or of Georg Alfred Schumann — all sufficiently important to have a place in an encyclopædia like the Britannica.
But — what is even more inexcusable — Max Reger, one of the most famous German composers of the day, has no biography. Nor has Eugen d'Albert, renowned for both his chamber music and operas. (D'Albert repudiated his English antecedents and settled in Germany.) Kreisler also is omitted, although Kubelik, five years Kreisler's junior, draws a biography. In view of the obvious contempt which the Encyclopædia Britannica has for America, it may be noted in this connection that Kreisler's first great success was achieved in America, whereas Kubelik made his success in London before coming to this country.
Among the German and Austrian composers who are without biographical mention in the Britannica, are several of the most significant musical creators of modern times — men who are world figures and whose music is known on every concert stage in the civilized world. On what possible grounds are Mahler, Reger and Eugen d' Albert denied biographies in an encyclopædia which dares advertise itself as a “complete library of knowledge” and as an “international dictionary of biography”? And how is it possible for one to get any adequate idea of the wealth or importance of modern German music from so biased and incomplete a source? Would the Encyclopædia's editors dare state that such a subject would not appeal to “intelligent” persons? And how will the Encyclopædia's editors explain away the omission of Hanslick, the most influential musical critic that ever lived, when liberal biographies are given to several English critics?
Despite the incomplete and unjust treatment accorded German and Austrian music in the Encyclopædia Britannica, modern French music receives scarcely better consideration. Chopin is given space only equal to that of Purcell. Berlioz and Gounod, who are allotted longer biographies than any other modern French composers, receive, nevertheless, considerably less space than Sir Arthur Sullivan. Saint-Saëns and Debussy receive less than half the space given to Sullivan, while Auber and César Franck are given only about equal space with Samuel Arnold, Balfe, Sterndale Bennett, and Charles Stanford! Massenet has less space than William Thomas Best or Joseph Barnby, and three-fourths of it is taken up with a list of his works. The remainder of the biographies are proportionately brief. There is not one of them of such length that you cannot find several longer biographies of much less important English composers.
Furthermore, one finds unexplainable errors and omissions in them. For instance, although Ernest Reyer died January 15, 1909, there is no mention of it in his biography; but there is, however, the statement that his Quarante Ans de Musique “was published in 1909.” This careless oversight in not noting Reyer's death while at the same time recording a still later biographical fact is without any excuse, especially as the death of Dudley Buck, who died much later than Reyer, is included. Furthermore, the biography omits stating that Reyer became Inspector General of the Paris Conservatoire in 1908. Nor is his full name given, nor the fact recorded that his correct name was Rey.
Again, although Théodore Dubois relinquished his Directorship of the Conservatory in 1905, his biography in the Britannica merely mentions that he began his Directorship in 1896, showing that apparently no effort was made to complete the material. Still again, although Fauré was made Director of the Conservatory in 1905, the fact is not set down in his biography. And once more, although d'Indy visited America in 1905 and conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the fact is omitted from his biography. . . . These are only a few of the many indications to be found throughout the Britannica that this encyclopædia is untrustworthy and that its editors have not, as they claim, taken pains to bring it up to date.
Among the important French composers who should have biographies, but who are omitted from the Encyclopædia Britannica, are Guilmant, perhaps the greatest modern organist and an important classico-modern composer; Charpentier, who with Puccini, stands at the head of the modern realistic opera, and whose Louise is to-day in every standard operatic repertoire; and Ravel, the elaborate harmonist of the moderns.
Even greater inadequacy — an inadequacy which could not be reconciled with an encyclopædia one-fourth the size of the Britannica — exists in the treatment of modern Russian music. So brief, so inept, so negligent is the material on this subject that, as a reference book, the Britannica is practically worthless. The most charitable way of explaining this woeful deficiency is to attribute it to wanton carelessness. Anton Rubinstein, for instance, is given a biography about equal with Balfe and Charles Stanford; while his brother Nikolaus, one of the greatest pianists and music teachers of his day, and the founder of the Conservatorium of Music at Moscow, has no biography whatever! Glinka, one of the greatest of Russian composers and the founder of a new school of music, is dismissed with a biography no longer than those of John Braham, the English singer, John Hatton, the Liverpool genius with the “irresistible animal spirits,” and William Jackson; and shorter than that of Charles Dibdin, the British song-writer!
Tschaikowsky receives less than two columns, a little over half the space given to Sullivan. The criticism of his work is brief and inadequate, and in it there is no mention of his liberal use of folk-songs which form the basis of so many of his important compositions, such as the second movement of his Fourth and the first movement of his First Symphonies. Borodin, another of the important musical leaders of modern Russia, has a biography which is no longer than that of Frederic Clay, the English light-opera writer and whist expert; and which is considerably shorter than the biography of Alfred Cellier. Balakirev, the leader of the “New Russian” school, has even a shorter biography, shorter in fact than the biography of Henry Hugo Pierson, the weak English oratorio writer.
The biography of Moussorgsky — a composer whose importance needs no indication here — is only fifteen lines in length, shorter even than William Hawes's, Henry Lazarus's, George Elvey's, or Henry Smart's! And yet Moussorgsky was “one of the finest creative composers in the ranks of the modern Russian school.” Rimsky-Korsakov, another of the famous modern Russians, whose work has long been familiar both in England and America, draws less space than Michael Costa, the English conductor of Spanish origin, or than Joseph Barnby, the English composer-conductor of Sweet and Low fame.
Glazunov is given a biography only equal in length to that of John Goss, the unimportant English writer of church music. And although the biography tells us that he became Professor of the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1900, it fails to mention that he was made Director in 1908 — a bit of inexcusable carelessness which, though of no great importance, reveals the slip-shod incompleteness of the Britannica's Eleventh Edition. Furthermore, many important works of Glazunov are not noted at all.
Here ends the Encyclopædia's record of modern Russian composers! César Cui, one of the very important modern Russians, has no biography whatever in this great English cultural work, although we find liberal accounts of such British composers as Turle, Walmisley, Potter, Richards (whose one bid to fame is having written God Bless the Prince of Wales) and George Alexander Lee, the song-writer whose great popular success was Come Where the Aspens Quiver. Nor will you find any biographical information of Arensky, another of the leading Russian composers of the new school; nor of Taneiev or Grechaninov — both of whom have acquired national and international fame. Even Scriabine, a significant Russian composer who has exploited new theories of scales and harmonies of far-reaching influence, is not considered of sufficient importance to be given a place (along with insignificant Englishmen like Lacy and Smart) in the Encyclopædia Britannica.
The most astonishing omission, however, is that of Rachmaninov. Next to omitting César Cui, the complete ignoring of so important and universally accepted a composer as Rachmaninov, whose symphonic poem, The Island of the Dead, is one of the greatest Russian works since Tschaikowsky, is the most indefensible of all. On what possible grounds can the Encyclopædia Britannica defend its extravagant claims to completeness when the name of so significant and well-known a composer as Rachmaninov does not appear in the entire twenty-nine volumes?
In the list of the important modern Italian musicians included in the Britannica one will seek in vain for information of Busoni, who has not only written much fine instrumental music, but who is held by many to be the greatest living virtuoso of the piano; or of Wolf-Ferrari, one of the important leaders of the new Italian school. And though Tosti, whose name is also omitted, is of slight significance, he is of far greater popular importance than several English song-writers who are accorded biographies.
Even Puccini, who has revolutionized the modern opera and who stands at the head of living operatic composers, is given only eleven lines of biography, less space than is given to George Alexander Lee or John Barnett, and only equal space with Lacy, the Irish actor with musical inclinations, and Walmisley, the anthem writer and organist at Trinity College. It is needless to say that no biography of eleven lines, even if written in shorthand, would be adequate as a source of information for such a composer as Puccini. The fact that he visited America in 1907 is not even mentioned, and although at that time he selected his theme for The Girl of the Golden West and began work on it in 1908, you will have to go to some other work more “supreme” than the Encyclopædia Britannica for this knowledge.
Leoncavallo's biography is of the same brevity as Puccini's; and the last work of his that is mentioned is dated 1904. His opera, Songe d'Une Nuit d'Été, his symphonic poem, Serafita, and his ballet, La Vita d'Una Marionetta — though all completed before 1908 — are not recorded in this revised and up-to-date library of culture. Mascagni, apparently, is something of a favorite with the editors of the Britannica, for his biography runs to twenty-three lines, nearly as long as that of the English operatic composer, William Vincent Wallace, and of Alfred Cellier, the infra-Sullivan. But even with this great partiality shown him there is no record of his return from America to Italy in 1903 or of the honor of Commander of the Crown of Italy which was conferred upon him.
Of important Northern composers there are not many, but the Britannica has succeeded in minimizing even their small importance. Gade has a biography only as long as Pierson's; and Kjerulf, who did so much for Norwegian music, is given less space than William Hawes, with no critical indication of his importance. Even Grieg receives but a little more space than Charles Stanford or Sterndale Bennett! Nordraak, who was Grieg's chief co-worker in the development of a national school of music, has no biography whatever. Nor has Sinding, whose fine orchestral and chamber music is heard everywhere. Not even Sibelius, whose very notable compositions brought Finland into musical prominence, is considered worthy of biographical mention.
But the most astonishing omission is that of Buxtehude, one of the great and important figures in the early development of music. Not only was he the greatest organist of his age, but he was a great teacher as well. He made Lübeck famous for its music, and established the “Abendmusiken” which Bach walked fifty miles to hear. To the Britannica's editor, however, he is of less importance than Henry Smart, the English organist!
In Dvořak's biography we learn that English sympathy was entirely won by the Stabat Mater; but no special mention is made of his famous E-minor (American) Symphony. Smetana, the first great Bohemian musician, receives less space than Henry Bishop, who is remembered principally as the composer of Home, Sweet Home.
But when we pass over into Poland we find inadequacy and omissions of even graver character. Moszkowski receives just eight lines of biography, the same amount that is given to God-Bless-the-Prince-of-Wales Richards. Paderewski is accorded equal space with the English pianist, Cipriani Potter; and no mention is made of his famous $10,000 fund for the best American compositions. This is a characteristic omission, however, for, as I have pointed out before, a composer's activities in America are apparently considered too trivial to mention, whereas, if it is at all possible to connect England, even in a remote and far-fetched way, with the genius of the world, it is done. Josef Hofmann, the other noted Polish pianist, is too insignificant to be given even passing mention in the Britannica. But such an inclusion could hardly be expected of a reference work which contains no biography of Leschetizky, the greatest and most famous piano teacher the world has ever known.
We come now to the most prejudiced and inexcusably inadequate musical section in the whole Britannica — namely, to American composers. Again we find that narrow patronage, that provincial condescension and that contemptuous neglect which so conspicuously characterize the Encyclopædia Britannica's treatment of all American institutions and culture. We have already beheld how this neglect and contempt have worked against our painters, our novelists, our poets and our dramatists; we have seen what rank injustice has been dealt our artists and writers; we have reviewed the record of omissions contained in this Encyclopædia's account of our intellectual activities. But in no other instance has British scorn allowed itself so extreme and indefensible an expression as in the peremptory manner in which our musical composers are dismissed. The negligence with which American musical compositions and composers are reviewed is greater than in the case of any other nation.
As I have said before, if the Encyclopædia Britannica had been compiled to sell only in suburban England, we would have no complaint against the petty contempt shown our artists; but when an encyclopædia is put together largely for the purpose of American distribution, the sweeping neglect of our native creative effort resolves itself into an insult which every American should hotly resent. And especially should such neglect be resented when the advertising campaign with which the Britannica was foisted upon the public claimed for that work an exalted supremacy as a library of international education, and definitely stated that it contained an adequate discussion of every subject which would appeal to intelligent persons. As I write this the Britannica advertises itself as containing “an exhaustive account of all human achievement.” But I think I have shown with pretty fair conclusiveness that it does not contain anywhere near an exhaustive account of American achievement; and yet I doubt if even an Englishman would deny that we were “human.”
Let us see how “exhaustive” the Britannica is in its record of American musical achievement. To begin with, there are just thirty-seven lines in the article on American composers; and for our other information we must depend on the biographies. But what do we find? Dudley Buck is given an incomplete biography of fourteen lines; and MacDowell draws thirty lines of inadequate data. Gottschalk, the most celebrated of American piano virtuosi, who toured Europe with great success and wrote much music which survives even to-day, is surely of enough historical importance to be given a biography; but his name does not so much as appear in the Britannica. John Knowles Paine has no biography; nor has William Mason; nor Arthur Foote; nor Chadwick; nor Edgar Stillman Kelly; nor Ethelbert Nevin; nor Charles Loeffler; nor Mrs. Beach; nor Henry K. Hadley; nor Cadman; nor Horatio Parker; nor Frederick Converse.
To be sure, these composers do not rank among the great world figures; but they do stand for the highest achievement in American music, and it is quite probable that many “intelligent” Americans would be interested in knowing about them. In fact, from the standpoint of intelligent interest, they are of far more importance than many lesser English composers who are given biographies. And although Sousa has had the greatest popular success of any composer since Johann Strauss, you will hunt the Britannica through in vain for even so much as a mention of him. And while I do not demand the inclusion of Victor Herbert, nevertheless if Alfred Cellier is given a place, Herbert, who is Cellier's superior in the same field, should not be discriminated against simply because he is not an Englishman.
It will be seen that there is practically no record whatever of the makers of American music; and while, to the world at large, our musical accomplishments may not be of vital importance, yet to Americans themselves — even “intelligent” Americans (if the English will admit that such an adjective may occasionally be applied to us) — they are not only of importance but of significance. It is not as if second-rate and greatly inferior composers of Great Britain were omitted also; but when Ethelbert Nevin is given no biography while many lesser British composers are not only given biographies but praised as well, Americans have a complaint which the Britannica's exploiters (who chummily advertise themselves as “we Americans”) will find it difficult to meet.