From contemporaneous reviews:
“It was a curious and a sad experience to notice in the audience a certain few faces become familiar at previous festivals of this society held in different European cities in years past. For this festivial, which has held as one of its objectives the assembling together, on terms of international understanding of the artists of many nations, is today itself a refugee from violence and tyranny overseas.
“[E]arlier festival programs of music by Europeans were disappointing because of the prevailing artificiality and sterility of the music. The European representatives had, however, a certain excuse for this, since conditions abroad have made it very difficult to obtain new music, genuinely representative of various national cultures, at this time. … The Americas have no such excuse, yet the program of music by composers of North, Central, and South America presented … was, if anything, worse than the preceding ones. … There was an audience of good size, and every composer has his friends.”
–Olin Downes, culled from three separate reviews of the festival
published in The New York Times
(“Concert is Given by World Society,” May 20, 1941;
“Chamber Music Program Heard at Library,” May 22, 1941
and “American Music Heard at Museum,” May 24, 1941)