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Chamber Music

on National Programme Daventry

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ANDRE MANGEOT (violin); WALTER PRICE (violin); ERIC BRAY (viola); JACK SHINEBOURNE (violoncello)
DR. CYRIL ROOTHAM was given the post of organist and musical director of St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1901, when he was no older than twenty-six ; he has held that post ever since. His influence has in that time been enormous, for a number of distinguished musicians of today graduated at Cambridge and came under Dr. Rootham's tuition. He has also composed himself in the time he has been able to spare from his duties. His compositions include an opera, The Two Sisters, a choral work, ' The Brown Earth ', which received the Carnegie Award, and some chamber music, of which this Quartet is the only one, of three, so far published. It was produced by the Philharmonic String Quartet in 1915. Rootham's style is restrained, his harmonics diatonic, and his music tends towards a polyphonic texture. Most of his work has a marked modal feeling and it is clear that folk-songs and the classical schools have influenced him to the exclusion of practically all later tendencies.
'THE ' chansons DE BILITIS ' are settings by Debussy of poems by Pierre Louys. Bilitis, to whom the poet ascribed them, is a purely imaginary poetess of ancient days, and Louys wrote them as though to recount her own experiences, pretending that he had transcribed them from some old Egyptian papyrus. In Debussy's hands they acquire a new expressiveness and beauty, although one that seems to grow very naturally from them. That was one direction in which he was signally successful; even those who are not quite in sympathy with his instrumental music have always felt that in the poems he chose for his vocal pieces, he found exactly the right music to illuminate and emphasise their moods and meanings. What we have come to call the musical atmosphere is unmistakably right in all of his songs. And, despite their pretended Egyptian origin, these are rich in all the qualities which mark Debussy as typically French.


Tatiana Makushina
Victor Hely-Hutchinson
André Mangeot
Walter Price
Eric Bray
Jack Shinebourne
Cyril Rootham
Pierre Louys.

National Programme Daventry

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