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An Orchestral Concert


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Conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS
THIS is a very youthful work of Wagner's, -L and in later life he very likely looked on it as a youthful indiscretion. He was only twenty, and had just been given his first post—chorusmaster in one of the smaller German opera houses. Weber's operas were very much in the air, and, like other young people, Wagner was naturally a good deal influenced by their romantic ideas.
The plot is based on an old legend which can be found in one form or another in most parts of the world. It tells of a fairy who fell in love with a mortal, and who was given leave to become a mortal herself so that she might wed him, only on the stern condition that his love remained constant, even though she were turned into some repulsive shape. In most versions of the legend she becomes a snake, but Wagner altered it and made her become a stone, which her lover restored to life and beauty by his passionate love song. And, instead of making the fairy become a mortal, Wagner has her ]over admitted to Fairyland as her bridegroom, by special decree of the King of the Fairies.
The opera is now Quite forgotten except for this Overture. It is bold and vigorous, and there is one upsoaring tune which is rather like Weber. It comes from the second act of the opera, where the fairy herself sings it.
And there is another theme which is very like a part of Elizabeth's greeting to the Hall of Song in Tannhäuser.
THIS fantasy is dedicated to the ' Cinderella ' of our imagination. At the beginning, Cinderella is sitting sadly alone by the fire ; four reiterated notes on flute and harp sound the Fairy Godmother's call, ' Cinderella.' An agitated movement tolls of the Fairy Godmother calling on her attendants, who dress Cinderella, and then the fairy coach can be heard driving away. Cinderella has a moment's anxiety, which soon disappears. She enters the ballroom, where we hear the dance in full sway ; the Prince sees her and, enraptured by her beauty, asks her to dance. For a moment she hesitates, and then, as they dance together, we hear the chief waltz theme of the fantasy. At the height of it, the clock strikes twelve, and the Fairy Godmother 's call sounds strongly through it. Cinderella hurries away, leaving her little slipper. A long tremolo, dying down very softly, marks the passage of time, and once more the same clarinet solo as at the beginning tells of her loneliness. As she dreams of her Fairy Godmother and the Prince, his approach is heard, and there is a humorous little march. As the Prince and his escort reach the house, the Fairy Godmother's call is heard again, as well as the waltz theme, reaching its climax as the shoe slips on Cinderella's foot. A brief return of the march theme closes the fantasy, and we can easily imagine the end of the tale : 'They lived happily ever after.'


Conducted By: Joseph Lewis
Unknown: Fairy Godmother

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