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Schubert Centenary Programme


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Relayed from the Assembly Room, City Hall
National Orchestra of Wales
Leader, Albert Voorsanger
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite

Overture, 'Rosamunde'

Admirers of Alice in Wonderland will remember the poor child's bewilderment over the many names of the White Knight's song. The confusion which surrounds Schubert's Overture to Rosamunde is rather like that. The one which we now call by that name was originally the Overture to a melodrama called The Magic Harp. The real Overture to Rosamunde appeared, on its publication, under the name of Alphonso and Estrella. That again is the title of another ill-fated drama, for which Schubert wrote music. All these plays are long ago forgotten, but Schubert's music, which was also put on one side and lost for a generation, was luckily discovered and given back to a grateful world by Sir George Grove and Sir Arthur Sullivan, who made the journey to Vienna specially to look for it, in 1867. The Overture is built of the slightest materials, and it is difficult to think of any composer save Schubert who could have made from them a piece whose effect is at once so dainty and so wholly satisfying. It is indeed Schubert, the great master of song, at his very best.

Symphony No. 7, in C

The first Movement of 'the great C Major,' as it is affectionately known, begins with a full-sized and important introduction in rather solemn mood; the horns announce the main theme softly, but with an impressive dignity. The music rises to a great climax, which introduces the main quick part of the Movement, whose first theme will be heard to have some kinship with the introduction. This first theme is stated at some length before the second makes its appearance, but the listener's interest is never allowed to flag, and the whole long Movement, orthodox in design, is clear and easily followed.
The slow Movement begins as though the theme were to be in the basses; this is, however, only a hint of the real tune, which appears very soon on the oboe. When the second tune is heard, it, too, is given first to the woodwinds.
The third Movement is a Scherzo in the traditional form, though of much greater length than usual. It begins with a robust figure on the strings, answered in Schubert's happy conversational way by the winds. Another, more graciously flowing, tune grows out of this first in a very natural way. The alternative part of the Movement, the Trio, is in an unexpectedly contrasted key as well as mood, and the opening returns without variation.
The last Movement is, on the whole, in a more light-hearted spirit than the rest of the work, and begins with a merry theme in which contrasts of loud and soft have the happiest effect. The second main theme has also a hint of laughter in its bustling vivacity, and the whole Movement hurries along without a pause for breath, to its energetic, even boisterous, close.


Musicians: National Orchestra of Wales
Orchestra leader: Albert Voorsanger
Conductor: Warwick Braithwaite

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