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A Military Band Concert

on 5XX Daventry

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Conducted by B. WALTON O'DONNELL
THE Conductor-Composer-Violoncellist Mancinelli (1848-1921) for a few years directed the Covent Garden Orchestra, and afterwards that of the Metropolitan Opera House at New York. He wrote several Operas, an Oratorio and a Cantata (both of which were produced at the Norwich Festival), and the Overture and incidental music to Cossa's play Cleopatra. It is this last, a piece of boldly-coloured dramatic music, that we are to hear.
THE two ' pigeons' (' innocents,' as we might call them) are the youth Pepio and the girl Gourouli. She loves him, but the fickle fellow wants to go off a-gipsying, and when a band of Bohemians comes along, he cannot be dissuaded from throwing in his lot with them. Gourouli, encouraged by her old aunt, determines to follow. She disguises herself as a gipsy, and also joins the band (Pepio, of course, as in all such romances, being unable to recognize her). A storm comes on, and Pepio shelters beneath a tree that is struck by lightning. He is stunned by a falling branch, nursed by the faithful Gourouli, and-need the tale be ended ?
The Ballet is just an excuse for a carnival of dancing. Hero are the titles of the extracts wo are to hear: (1) Entry of the Gipsies; (2) Scena and Dance of the two Pigeons ; (3) Theme and Variations; (4) Ballet Air ; (5) Czardas ; (6) Finale.
WEBER'S piece has a ' programme.' This is how the composer describes the music's story-background: At a ball a gentleman approaches a lady and asks for the pleasure of a dance. At first, she hesitates; he presses ; she consents. Now they converse more easily. He begins ; she replies. Now for the dance ! They take their places and wait for it to begin. Then follows the dance. At its close, the gentleman expresses his thanks, the lady bows, and " the rest is silence." '
THE three poets whose works are being read this afternoon are all men of the day before yesterday, and their reputations are, in consequence, still on the ebb. Matthew Arnold , the classicist and scholar, was, it is true, never extremely popular; but Swinburne, at the beginning of his long literary career, was a flaming meteor in the literary sky, and Browning inspired an unexampled cult. Swinburne's meteor burnt itself out before the end of his own long life, and Browning's obscurities combined with the excessive adulation of his worshippers to remove him from the list of popular poets. We are now far enough away to re-estimate these lords of the Victorian Parnassus, and this reading will show what fine poetry they could write when Arnold was at his least scholarly, Swinburne at his least fleshly, and Browning at his least obscure.

5XX Daventry

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