19 MAY 1923, Page 24

Music Competition Festivals. By Ernest Fowles. (Began Paul. 4s. 6c1.

net.) This addition to the Musicians' Bookshelf series sets sail under false colours. Those who know of Mr. Fowles as an indefatigable adjudicator in pianoforte playing at innumerable festivals will expect him to restrict his book to this particular branch of festival work, but the ordinary reader will look for a more general treatment of the festival problem. For pro- blem there is. What are festivals for ? What should be their aim ? How should they be run ? Have they had up to now any appreciable cultural effect upon this, one of the most examination-rid of countries ? Do they exist merely to supply mediocre singers, violinists, pianists and choral societies with gold medals and swelled heads ? Should they drag on wearily from week to week in some desolate hall like the serpentine London Festival, and have little to show for it at the end ? Should they have some definite purpose like the new Elizabethan Competitive Festival that will go far towards popularizing some of the jolliest music ever written ? These are burning questions and Mr. Fowles does not answer them. But he does give his own impressions and opinions of the pianoforte competitions, and embedded in these the reader will find much good sense, a little elementary psy- chology, and plenty of advice that intending competitors should absorb and be thankful for.