Excerpt from Thirty Sterling Songs by the Great Masters
IT is an American trait to insist on having the best of everything, and only the best. In music we patronize the world's leading opera singers, pianists, and violinists at any cost, while the minor artists find it more profitable to remain in Europe. One branch of the divine art presents an unfortunate exception. Our school music is for the most part far from being the best of its kind.
In the literature classes in our schools the students are introduced directly to Shakespeare, Milton, Tennyson, Ruskin, and the other great masters of style and thought, to the students' immense advantage. But the music books are, for the most part, filled with inferior songs and second-hand arrangements, apparently on the erroneous assumption that the best songs of the great masters are too difficult to sing or understand, when they are, in truth, often as simple as folk-tunes, and much more likely than inferior productions to make an immediate and deep impression. The aim of the T/u'rzjy Sterling Song: is to do for music what has already been done for literature, by bringing the students into direct 'contact with nearly a dozen of the greatest song writers, representing seven different countries, - Germany, Austria, Hungary, Russia, Poland, Norway, and America.
As the time allowed for music in our secondary schools is more limited than it ought to be in view of the importance of this art as a healthful recreation and refining inﬂuence, it is obvious that the quality of the music supplied is of infinitely more consequence than the quantity. It has, therefore, been decided, after due deliberation, to limit the number of songs in this collection to thirty, but to make sure that each of them is a work of genius, - every bar a bar of gold.
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