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A Musical Boom When Wartime Restrictionss End

By C.C.T. t?ROM Chopin and Brahms, to l 1 boogie-woogie, Aucklanders have enjoyed a good ration of music hlood performance —not the indolent Self "lfformper mSßaof broadcastfne and the screen? valuable though thise have been as morale boosters ments n^as at been° f prohfbifed Mount^dert hunga, little Johnny is still scraping an old fiddle and little Mary is tapping out five-fingered exercises on a tin Music ia teachers ana repair firms years W °wl^h W ?m^i^ted^tdprn^nt almost unprocurable they- have gerin danger of extinction— the tame ol musical appreciation. The desi for self-expression in musical lorm is strong in the average New Zealander the restrictions imposed by war have quickened, and strengthened it and those best qualified to know tell me there is going to be a mighty musical renaissancem this country just as soon as things ge b& A k continuous flow of inquiries about pianos is reported by fading musical firms in the city. anxious to have their children taught or to revive the art them selves want to know when new instruments will be here and what the price is likely to be. Britain is now manufacturing pianos for export and would put a few on those Dominion-bound ships which return loaded with foodstuffs if the New Zealand Government would relax the import ban. They would be delivered, too, in a reasonable time, though higher all-round prices can be expected.

Old Pianos Need Pensioning As a matter of fact, the lack of reliable pianos is already proving an embarrassment to touring artists, while professional teachers are senously handicapped in many cases through inability to secure replacements. Most of our public halls contain "old crocks" which normally would have been pensioned off years ago and which are virtually beyond repair. If overseas concert artists are to be attracted to New Zealand the sooner some replacements are made the better. the other day an eminent visaing pianist dropped more than a broad hint in this direction. Let it not be imagined that only in the classical field has the shortage of good musical instruments reached the dimensions of a "headache." Dance bands have had their problems. Like pianos, wood winds have long passed the first flush of youth. They have become squeaky and wheezy with age and over-use, though probably traditional opponents of jazz and its modern development, swing, would not notice the difference. Piano accordions ("squeeze boxes" to jive-mad youth) have become enormously popular in recent years, and will continue so in the days of peace ahead. But in the meanwhile parts are extremely difficult to replace. Here's a prediction. Thousands of mouth organs (harmonicas is the aristocratic name) will be sold in New Zealand just as soon as stocks reach here. There is an incessant demand for them—and not all from small boys. It is hoped that an English harmonica will be on the market by the end of the year. Kiwis back from Europe tell me that Italy is hopeful of exporting large quantities of accordions in the near future. Manufacture of them in northern Italy was evidently not seriously affected by the war. In fact, in one quarter I heard that supplies were already available and local firms have had their orders in for some time. Gramophone records —-mostly those featuring the latest hits—are widely sought, and periodical shipments arriving from Australia are swiftly disposed of. Owing to material shortages the record manufacturers have concentrated largely on popular songs and dance numbers, where there is the biggest market. N.Z. Publishing a Godsend Music publishing in New Zealand has been a worthwhile wartime development, both culturally and commercially. It has largely prevented a "musical blackout."

Because of the paper shortage it was impossible to import music folios and albums in arty quantity, so Dominion firms arranged with overseas publishers to print on a royalty basis. As a result tens of thousands of New Zealand-printed copies have been sold here of such favourites as "Bless 'Em All," "When the Lights Go On Again," "The Warsaw Concerto" and "The Army, the Navy and the Air Force." What a dull, prosaic community we should have been without these melodies!

Not only popular songs but music suitable for teaching, including a pianoforte tutor, albums of hits, a carol book, and school song books have been turned out by local publishers during the war—chiefly by a Dunedin firm. All this has helped to fill the gap made by the restriction on imported music, but from my information the industry is of a temporary nature only, and we will again be dependent on imports after the war.

Budding Cyril Scotts or Irving Berlins have little scope in New Zealand. It seems the local publishers won't print anything that has not been well "plugged" and therefore with a strong sales value. It wouldn't pay them. Plenty of local compositions are submitted, but the hope of meteoric fame in song writing remains still, as it has always done, in Britain and America.

Perhaps the greatest hardship suffered by New Zealand music has been the difficulty of obtaining standard scores of well-known operas and musical comedies. Many a thriving musical, dramatic or operatic society has had to go into recess on that account. The same can be said of some 6f the school percussion bands and such organisations as the Musical Army, which had a great run in the 'thirties. I have it on the best authority that many of these bodies will be revived when stocks are plentiful and many new ones will be formed. New Zealand is on the eve of a musical boom, which will confound the Jeremiahs who tell us that radio and "tinned" music have killed individual effort.

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Bibliographic details

A Musical Boom When Wartime Restrictionss End, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 178, 30 July 1945

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A Musical Boom When Wartime Restrictionss End Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 178, 30 July 1945

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