IN the series of Talks of which this is the fourth, Mrs. Fisher is tracing the parallel between the state of England after the Napoleonic wars and now, after the war of 1914. This afternoon she takes a retrospective view of conditions in Great Britain before the French wars, to investigate what sort of society it was that was subjected to so terrible a strain.
The Violin Sonatas given in the original style
(with Bass played on the Violoncello by AMBROSE GAUNTLETT) by WILLIAM PRIMROSE
TO-NIGHT we are to have the SEVENTH and EIGHTH SONATAS.
For the various Movements of these Corelli adopted the titles of the ' Suites ' of dances, the most familiar of which are those by Bach, with the first half of whose life Corelli's was contemporary. The foundation Movements of the Suite were the Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue (with sometimes a Prelude and various other Movements added).
In the SEVENTH SONATA Corelli leads off with a lively Prelude. He omits the Allemande on this occasion, and gives us next a Corrente (Courante). This means a ' running ' piece, and it lives up to its name, tripping along in a happy fashion.
A Sarabande follows-a strong contrast. This serious, expressive piece is one of a type that probably came from Spain. It was the chief slow dance of the Suite, and comes as restful relief between the opening quick dances and the concluding one, the liveliest of all-the Jig (or ' Giga,' as C'orelli spells it, in the Italian way).
The EIGHTH SONATA opens with a Prelude (a slow one this time). Next comes a brisk Allemande, the name of which shows the derivation of the dance-from Germany. This piece, with its large melodic skips, is another good example of the ' violinistic ' writing of Corelli. ' ,
Thirdly, wo have the smooth and gracious
Sarabande, and lastly the bouncing Jig, with some more of the characteristic fiddle jumps in its tune.
MR. MARETT has now dealt with Evolution, and with Magic as a factor in the making of man. This evening he goes on to consider Religion, that universal and all-important element in the development of law, government, social custom and everything else that goes to make up a civilized society. Mr. Marett, who is Reader in Social Anthropology at Oxford, has himself written a notable book on this subject, entitled 'The Threshold of Religion.'
, in Items from Their Repertoire and A Musical NEWS BULLETIN
(The Witch Dancers)
An Opera by Giacomo Puccini
S.B. from Glasgow
THE Villis, or Witch Dancers, are the spirits of maidens who have been betrothed and whoso lovers have proved faithless. At midnight they are supposed to arise in bridal attire and dance until dawn in weird frenzy. Should they encounter one of their false lovers, they beguile him into their midst and whirl him round in a mad dance until the victim dies of exhaustion. Characters
THE STATIOX CHOIR
THE STATION ORCHESTRA, conducted by HERBERT A. CARRUTHERS
ACT 1. The scene is laid in the Black Forest.
Anna, Wulf, and Roberto are sitting before Wulf's cottage on the hillside receiving the congratulations of the villagers upon the betrothal of the young coupie. It transpires that Roberto is the heir of a rich lady in Mayence, and it wilt be necessary for him to journey thither to make arrangements about his inheritance before his wedding. As he departs, Anna gives him a bunch of forget-me-nots. Roberto implores her not to become downhearted during his absence, and the pair ask Guglielmo for his blessing, which is freely accorded.
Roberto (Her Lover):
Guglielmo Wulf (Her Father):
THE EARL OF RONALDSHAY is one of the many Englishmen who, living in the East as public servants, have become fascinated with its people, art and literature. He has travelled extensively in Asia, from Persia to Japan, besides being Governor of Bengal for five eventful years (1917-22), and has published several books on India, the latest being ' The Heart of Aryavarta.' In this Talk he will describe a visit to a Tibetan oracle.
S.B. from Glasgow
ACT II. In those days there was a woman of Mayence who bewitched all who beheld her. Roberto proved no exception, and breaking his plighted word, he remains in the citv. enthralled by the siren. Worn out by hopeless longing, Anna falls sick and dies. The second act is played in the same setting as the first and opens with Anna's funeral procession. The curtain is lowered to denote lapse of time and is raised upon the same scene at midnight. The Witch Dancers rise up in the darkness and begin their wild dances. They vanish, and Guglielmo comes out from his cottage to bemoan the treachery of Roberto and the death of Anna. Roberto enters and the familiar scene re-awakes memories of Anna. Hoping to find her, he approaches the cottage door, but is checked by the apparition of the girl in her bridal robes. Torn with remorse, he expresses his willingness to meet Death. The Witch Dancers reappear and Roberto is whirled into the fantastic dance and dies of exhaustion. The opera closes with a triumphant chorus of Hosannas.