Conducted by Howard Carr
Olga Haley (Mezzo-Soprano) : Mrs. Norman O'Neill (Pianoforte); and The Wireless Orchestra
The Belgian Composer, Gretry (1741-1813) began his musical life with a sore disappointment, and ended it with all kinds of honours and pensions. His disappointment lay in being turned out of a church choir as incapable, at the age of eleven; but when he found sympathetic masters, he got on fast enough. At seventeen he had written some little symphonies, and at eighteen he produced a Mass. Then he attracted the attention of a patron, who helped him to go to Italy. He was economical enough to travel to Rome on foot (falling in with an odd companion, a smuggler). He had still another rebuff there, for his master dismissed him as an incompetent student of composition.
He was not a scientific musician, but he soon found how to set words expressively and to make Operas that were acceptable to the French taste of his day. He wrote fifty such works, and was richly rewarded, not only by popular applause, but by Court patronage. He was made a Privy Councillor by the Bishop of Liege, and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour by Napoleon, who also gave him a pension of 4,000 francs to compensate him for losses sustained in the Revolution.
Cephalus and Procris was a fairly early work. written in 1775. Like many other Operas of Gretry, it is based on a mythological tale. The name of Procris is perpetuated in our phrase about her 'unerring dart,' given to her by Diana. The dart not only struck its prey without fail, but returned to the hand that loosed it. This Suite of Ballet Music from the Opera, which was arranged by the well-known Conductor, the late Felix Mottl, is to-night being performed for the first time in London.
Ballet Suite, ' Cephalus and Procris ' Tambourin ; Memietto (Les Nymphes de Diane) ; Gigue (First Time in London) - GrÃ©try-arr. Motll
OLGA HALEY Aria, ' Bohemian Love Song ' (' Carmen ') - Bizet
THESE pieces, which are dedicated to
Granville Bantock, celebrate the heroic deeds of a soldier, an explorer, and an airman.
I. O'LEARY, V.C. An extract from the London Gazette in February, 1915, runs thus : ' Forming one of the storming party which advanced against the enemy barricades, he rushed to the front and himself killed five Germans, who were holding the first barricade; after which, he attacked the second barricade, which he captured, after killing three of the enemy and making prisoners of two more. Lance-Corporal O'Leary thus practically captured the enemy's position by himself, and prevented the rest of the attacking party from being fired upon.'
II. CAPTAIN OATES. He was a member of Captain Scott's South Polar Expedition of 1912, which suffered great privations. At a time when the explorers were in sore difficulties, and when shortage of food made it extremely doubtful whether they could survive, Captain Scott thus writes in his journal of Captain Oates : ' He slept through the night before last hoping not to wake, but he woke in the morning. It was blowing a blizzard. He said. " I am just going outside, and may be some time." He went out into the blizzard, and we have not seen him since. We knew poor Oates was walking to his death ; but, though wo tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman.'
III. WARNEFORD, V.C. An Admiralty communique of June 10, 1915, describes the triumphant deed of Lieutenant Warneford: He attacked, and, single-handed, completely destroyed, a Zeppelin in mid-air. This brilliant achievement was accomplished after chasing the Zeppelin from the coast of Flanders to Ghent, where he succeeded in dropping his bombs on it from a height of only one or two hundred feet. One of these bombs caused a terrific explosion which set the Zeppelin on fire from end to end, but, at the same time, overturned his aeroplane, and stopped the engine. In spite of this, he succeeded in landing safely in hostile country, and after fifteen minutes started his engine, and returned to his base without damage.'
Keyboard Pieces by Scarlatti (from the standard eollection of his works)
[This programme has been arranged in celebration of the. anniversary of Scarlatti's birth.1
No. 32, in C; No. 33, in D ; Study, in C ;
No. 9, in D Minor ; No. 20, in E ;
No. 43 (Pastorale), in F; No. 42, in C.
DOMENICO SCARLATTI , born in the same year as Bach and Handel (1685). was a great pioneer in keyboard writing. He was a bold experimenter in harmony, and had a wit as brisk as his fingers.
Once when Scarlatti was young a musical competition was got up in Rome by a Cardinal, at which Scarlatti and Handel both appeared. Nobody could decide which of these two played the Harpsichord better, but when it came to Organ playing Handel, they say, was an easy winner.
Of the Pastorale (No. 43) Mrs. O'Neill says that 'it is one of the very few pieces in which one can trace the influence of Scarlatti's visit to England, where he came with Handel as companion. There is a distinct flavour of the Morris Dances in this charming little piece, which is very rarely played.'
Of the last piece to be played (No. 42, in C) she says : ' This has a character quite of its own, not unlike that of modern Russian music. Part of it suggests in type some of the Prince Igor dances.'
SMETANA, the first Bohemian composer to achieve distinction, was a great lover of his native land. He wrote a set of orchestral pieces, entitled My Country, celebrating in music its natural beauties and its history and legends. This Tone Poem, the second of that series, is a description of the progress of the chief river of Bohemia, the Vltava (or Moldau, as we know it.). from its source in the depths of the forest until, after tumbling over rapids and streaming past frowning fortresses, it joins the Elbe as a broad, rolling river. It witnesses on the way typical Ecenes of Bohemian life-a hunt and a peasant wedding; and by moonlight it spies forest nymphs dancing in a glade.
THIS is really Schumann's Third Symphony ; wrong numeration arose through the actual Second Symphony's being published after the other three.
The Composer's biographer, Wasielewsky, tells us that Schumann said of this work : ' I sketched it when I was in a condition of great physical suffering ; I may say it was, so to speak, the resistance of the spirit which has hero visibly influenced me. I sought to contend with my bodily state. The FIRST MOVEMENT is full of this contest, and is in its character very freakish and contumacious.
The Introduction to the FIRST MOVEMENT brings in several of the themes to be used later in the work. The opening Brass call is a kind of ' motto ' that will be found appearing many times in the different Movements. Soon comes another, more suave, from the Woodwind.
The FIRST MOVEMENT proper begins with an energetic, springing theme ; next comes a tune which, in a slightly different form, we heard from the Woodwind in the Introduction. One or two other ideas are introduced, with some little elaboration, then ' developed ' at some length, and duly ' recapitulated.'
The SCHERZO, in five section, consists of three tunes presented in this order : First, Second, First again, Third, First. The fiery First seption thus comes round three times, its repetitions being separated by two varied episodes, or ' Trios,' as they are called. One Trio begins with a tripping Woodwind phrase (three notes to a beat), smoothly answered by the Strings. The other Trio is a sort of discussion of a simple melody. In the Coda, or roimding-off portion of the Movement, we hear the ' motto ' call on the Brass.
The SLOW MOVEMENT begins with a sweet and rather sad melody, made more expressive by the Strings' repeated-chord accompaniment. The following portion is not so much a distinct, new idea as an enhancement of the first theme's emotion and a deepening of its mood. So the Movement goes on its way, tender and imaginative.
The LAST MOVEMENT dashes off impetuously with a theme that contains two ideas-the one con-ti-sting of the first rush up the scale and the four firm steps beyond, and the other of the Wind passage, joyous and march-like, that follows. Both of these are developed in the course of this closely-worked-out Movement. We find also
.reminiscences of the Slow Movement's leading melody, the mood of which for a time masters that of the Last Movement's opening. The 'motto ' call is in evidence towards the close, which comes in a climax of triumph.
AN anniversary programme in honour of Geoffrey Chaucer , the first of the great English poets, who died 520 years ago, and was buried in what is now the Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey.
by Francis Thompson , with Music by STANFORD ROBINSON
Rung by tho MIDDLESEX COUNTY ASSOCIATION and London DIOCESAN GUILD OF CHANGE-RINGERS. Conducted by WILLIAM PYE .
FROM THE STUDIO
THE CHOIR OF THE CHURCH OF the SACKED
HEART, WIMBLEDON FATHER BERNARD BUTLER, of the Church of the Holy Name, Manchester, has frequently broadcast from tho Manchester Station.
The Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital (Moorfields Eye Hospital). -Appeal by Mr. CECIL LEWIS
MOORFIELDS HOSPITAL, which is at present trying to raise £16.000 in order to provide badly-needed additional accommodation, is the oldest and largest Eye Hospital in tho world. It began its work for the poor who were suffering from diseases of, or injury to, the eye, in the year when Nelson won the Battle of Trafalgar. This work has steadily increased until in our time, a year's work has come to mean treating more than 53,000 patients, some of whom actually have their sight restored, and many of whom are saved from blindness.
Mr. Cecil Lewis , who makes the appeal, needs no introduction to listeners. He was one of the first Announcers of tho B.B.C., and was until recently Chairman of the Programmes Board. Contributions should be sent to [address removed].
GENERAL NEWS BULLETIN
; Local Announcements
VYRA DAVID (Soprano)
Relayed from the Piccadilly Hotel
(For Violin, 'Cello and Piano-with the Composer at the Piano)