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A Popular Concert


We have produced a Style Guide to help editors follow a standard format when editing a listing. If you are unsure how best to edit this programme please take a moment to read it.
Relayed from the Assembly Room, City Hall
National Orchestra of Wales
(Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite

This Symphonic Poem of Saint-Saens is based on the old classical tale of how Phaeton persuaded his father, the Sun, to let him drive the fiery chariot across the sky. Listeners will remember that in the old tale the horses got out of hand, and the chariot was on the point of crashing into the earth to wreck it, when Jupiter hurled a thunderbolt which destroyed the youth and his car.
There is a short and impressive introduction and then we hear the galloping steeds, and, a little later, a pompous tune on the brasses no doubt stands for the young Phaeton himself. Four horns afterwards play a fine broad melody which is thought, to be the dirge of the Sun over the boy's death. The music works up to a great pitch of excitement, and against a strenuous version of the Phaeton theme we can quite clearly hear the falling of the thunderbolt, and, at last, the lament.

Tchaikovsky began a sixth Symphony in mid-Atlantic-so his diary tells us-on his voyage from the States in the early summer of 1891. But the work did not please him, and he destroyed it, beginning immediately afterwards the new sixth Symphony, with such enthusiasm and energy that the whole thing was clearly outlined in his mind in less than four days. He wrote of it as a Symphony with a programme, 'but a programme of a kind which remains an enigma to all - let them guess it who can,' and his intention was to call it merely 'A Programme Symphony.'
The work was completed by August of that year and Tchaikovsky had no doubt himself that it was the finest music he had ever composed or would compose, a conviction in which many of his admirers share. The name 'Pathetique' was suggested by his brother, and though Tchaikovsky agreed, he changed his mind and wrote afterwards to the publisher asking him to call it simply Symphony No. 6.
Though it is the fashion in some 'advanced' quarters to declare nowadays that Tchaikovsky's great work is played out, it is certain that this is not by any means the opinion of music lovers in general. On the contrary, probably the chief feeling of most of those who hear Tchaikovsky's wonderful music again tonight will be one of regret that it has not been possible to give the work in its entirety on this occasion.
Still, 'half a loaf,' etc., and there is such 'room and verge' in Tchaikovsky's spacious strains that even two movements may be said to constitute a feast in themselves. Of the two movements chosen, it will be sufficient to say that the first is the delightful Allegro con grazio in 5-4 time and the other the tremendous Allegro molto vivace with its stirring march theme which is treated with such overwhelming power.


Musicians: National Orchestra of Wales
Conductor: Warwick Braithwaite

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