Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 21. September 10, 1968
'third stream': off the deep end?
'third stream': off the deep end?
People have asked me, with a hint of shame (or pride), what's third stream or what does "third stream" mean. Warwick Woodward, in his article on jazz and folk music in the first issue of third stream, explained what is meant by the term as applied to music. It is essential that you understand this if you are to appreciate the purpose of third stream, N.Z.'s music magazine.
The criticism which has been most widely levelled at 'third stream', and with some justification, is that it is too diversified and is trying to do too much. Classical music lovers claim that the sections on jazz, folk and pop are unnecessary in a music magazine and informed pop fans say that there is not enough nop to warrant their subscribing to the magazine. Although 'third stream' sets out to give a comprehensive coverage of all aspects of music, it succeeds only partially, largely because its main focus is on 'serious' music; it devotes only a small proportion of its space to pop music, folk and jazz and some articles e.g. the fond farewell to Mr Lee Grant in the first issue, seem somewhat apologetic and empty. Indeed, the only pop material of any substance,- is Neville Green's The Stones Have Had it Rough' in the third issue. Articles on jazz have been spasmodic and, for the most part, of a rather conventional nature e.g. references to the origins of jazz in Woodward's article in the first issue. Pete Seeger is given the honours in the folk section in the third issue, and the material is often extremely lucid, particularly the interview with Seeger which reveals the integrity of a man whose art has been widely undervalued in this country. However, if it is not enough to give precedence to a particular musical sphere, in one issue, there needs to be a total balance in every issue and so far, this has not appeared.
The first issue established a few permanent features which have appeared in every issue to date: the diary of coming events, record releases and record reviews. It contained many well-written and provocative articles: Robin Maconie's 'The Educated Muse" on obsolete methods of music teaching in N.Z. secondary schools being one of particular note. Owen Jensen wrote an article on previous N.Z. music magazines, and as well as the more lengthy articles and interviews, there were a multiude of small ones, all carefully selected and valuable in their-own way: Reports on the two Summer Schools of Music; a witty and amusing report of the VUW Composers' Concert 1967, and an interview conducted at the Battle of the Sounds.
The standard of the writing is high and painstaking care is taken in editing, proof-reading and layout. It is obvious from the wide range of material in the second and third issues, that there is no lack of copy, and that people are interested in many areas of music, notably the article entitled "Music for Handicapped Children" by L. B. Bartlett in the second issue and Gordon Burt's article "Whither Music?" in the third.
Some musically qualified people have complained that reviewers for third stream are too young and inexperienced to be able to review concerts or records adequately. This criticism is invalid when one looks carefully at the standard of the reviews in the magazine. The editor has a firm policy of giving records to the people who are best qualified to review them, and are interested and well-informed in a particular field of music. Those who review concerts are usually people who have studied music for a number of years and, most important, are in touch with changing trends in the music world.
Although the magazine has flaws (and this is inevitable in any new venture), it has succeeded in interesting a wide musical public. It is fulfilling a need in New Zealand society—a need for a closer connection between composers and performers, musicians and theorists.