Relayed from the Queen's Hall, London
Sir HENRY J. WOOD and his SYMPHONY
MIRIAM LICETTE (Soprano)
NORMAN ALLIN (Bass) SOLOMON (Pianoforte)
THE Spanish Caprice is such a frequent item in our concert programmes that it is only necessary to mention the titles of its sections, which follow one another without pause. The first is an Alborada, or morning serenade-a vigorous waking-up' piece. Next we have a tiny set of Variations on a theme. Then the Alborada is repeated, with varied orchestration. A Scene and Gipsy Song follows, and the last dance is a Fandango (originally a dance to the accompaniment of guitar and castanets).
AFTER writing this work especially for
Nicholas Rubinstein , a distinguished Pianist, and dedicating it to him. Tchaikovsky found that the player disliked it intensely, considering it unplayable and worthless. So the Composer took out Rubinstein's name and put in that of von Bülow, who took the Concerto to America and there gave the first performance of it. Later, Rubinstein repented, and played the work, and Tchaikovsky rewrote it very largely. There are three Movements.
FIRST MOVEMENT. This opens with an Introduction. Then comes one of the Main Tunes Of the Movement. It begins on Piano alone, and can be recognized by its curiously broken character
(all divided into little groups of two notes at a time) ; this is a tune Tchaikovsky borrowed from the blind beggars at a fair. After some time a more gentle t une enters,: which can be recognized by the' fact that at first it is given to Wind instruments alone.
These are the chief tunes, out of which the whole Movement (more or less) is made. The middle part of the Movement is constructed out of fragments of them. and the last part of it repeats them much in their first form.
SECOND MOVEMENT. This is a brief and very attractive movement, which begins with a graceful tune for Flute accompanied by pizzicato Strings. Later appears a quicker passage (beginning on Piano alone), which Tchaikovsky took from an old French song We must be happy. dance and sing. Lastly, the first tune returns, this time in the Piano part, accompanied by Strings. It needs no explanation ; everyone can follow it.
THIRD MOVEMENT. This quick and fiery-Movement is made out of three chief tunes, all suggesting Russian dances.
WHEN Eigar's arrangoment of the Fugue of Bach first appeared (in 1921) a story went about that Elgar and Strauss, in order to illustrate their views on orchestration. agreed that each should arrange an organ piece of Bach for the modern orchestra, and that this is Elgar's share of the task. This story may or may not be true. What; is certain is that the orchestration is an. extraordinarily powerful and exhilarating piece of work.
TILL EULENSPIEGEL is, of course, the legendary high-spirited joker of the thirteenth century, well enough known in this country since Queen Elizabeth's days as Till Owlglass.
In a Prologue Strauss presents two aspects of Till. The Violins speak of his pensive, gentler side, and the Horn, in its capricious, bounding tune, tells us of his roguishness.
His adventures include a mad ride through the market place, upsetting everything, then a masquerade as a monk (in which guise he preaches a mock sermon) ; next he falls in love, and after that ' pulls the legs' of a lot of dry old pedants. When he tires of them he goes off whistling a jaunty street-song.
A high moment is reached when the whole
Orchestra gives forth the second Till theme. slowly and majestically—' Till at the height of his glory.'
But at the last Till is arrested and tried. His protests of innocence are useless. He is hanged.
Last comes the Epilogue, with its mangled thoughts of wistfulness and gentle smiles.