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The Promenade Concert

Synopsis

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(Opening Concert. Queen Hall, August 11. 1028) THIS music of Debussy's is one of the most interesting examples in existence, of the translation into the medium of one art. of a very subtle and elusive work conceived by a sister Muse. Stephane Mallarme. the author of the poem which inspired it, lectured at Oxford a generation ago, on ' La Musique et les Lettres." making much of the close connection between the two arts. His favourite theory was that in poetry, words must convey an impression as indefinite as that of music. A parallel is furnished by Liszt's contention, that the function of music was. on the other hand. to be in every way as definite in its message as words. Debussy's music is as impossible to explain or analyse as Mallarme's poem ; the two really * mean ' the same thing-a vague, dreamy picture of a Faun who wakes in the forest at day-break and tries to recall his experience of yesterday afternoon. He cannot be sure whether nymphs actually came to visit him. white and golden in the sunlight. or whether his memory is no more than a dream, conjured up by the notes of his own flute.
In Debussy's music it is the Flute which begins with a dreamy melody, and clarinet and oboe also have large shares in the work. There is one sweeping theme for strings and winds in combination. but the hint of the poem given above is probably a better guide to an understanding of the piece than anything like a detailed analysis of its tunes. ,
THERE are frequent instances in music of a composer's special interest in one of his works having induced him to set it in more than one way. The beautiful song on which this Fantasy is based has often been sung to wireless listeners, and Schubert's fondness for it is easy to understand. In this Fantasy he elaborates the idea of the song-one who wanders alone through the world looking for happiness and reaching the melancholy conclusion that only there, where he himself is not, can happiness be found. This orchestral arrangement of the was. made by Liszt in 1856.

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The Promenade Concert

2BE Belfast, 27 July 1929 15.30






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