Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 August 2019
It would be absurd now to suggest that recordings were not a legitimate subject for music criticism. For some genres, they are arguably the primary focus of reviews and comment, whether these appear in newspapers, magazines, journals, online or are broadcast. At the time Compton Mackenzie conceived The Gramophone in September 1922, the notion of reviewing records was far from established. Forty-five years had passed since Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877 and commercial recordings had started to be produced in significant quantities in the 1890s. Moreover, the years immediately after the end of the First World War saw a substantial expansion of activity for the record companies. However, according to Mackenzie’s perception in his entertaining autobiography, Robin Legge (Daily Telegraph) and Percy Scholes (the Observer) ‘were the only musical critics who had as yet recognized that such an instrument as the gramophone existed, and occasionally noticed some new record’. Nor was this situa
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