BACH'S' 'THE ART OF FUGUE,'
Played by JAMES CHING
Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Fugues
HERE, towards the end of his work. Bach shows still more wonderful skill. He begins the Twelfth Fugue with the tune in this rhythm :
After treating this in a broadly-sweeping style, and coming to a clear resting-place, lie states the tune again, this time in inverted form, and again works it out fully with the same perfect facility and resource. the most remarkable thing about the feat being that the whole of the second half (not merely the tune) is an exact ' upside down ' version of the first half—just as if the first had been held up before a mirror ; and it is all done without in the least putting a damper on the music's spirits-or on ours.
The Thirteenth Fugue, in like manner, starts off. rather like No. 9, with an octave leap and n cavorting down the scale, three notes to a beat. This Fugue (in which we have hints of the melodic shape of the original tune of the set) likewise has its mirror-inversion, made without Haw or smudge.
Fugue Fourteen is described as a Variant of No. 10. It starts with the basic tune. in the rhythm in which we first met it in Fugue 5. The broken theme, with its phrase of three notes, which began Np. 10, enters here in the Bass, after the basic theme has been preached upon (so to speak), and a very clear and simple-sounding piece is made out of the two ideas.
An Opera in Two Acts
Words and Music by LEONCAVALLO
S.B. from Manchester
Nedda (in the play, 'Columbine'), a strolling player, wife of Canio MIRIAM LICETTE (Soprano)
Canio (in the play, ' Punchinello '), Master of the Troupe ............. PARRY JONES (Tenor)
Tonio (the Clown-in the play, ' Taddeo ')
THORPE BATES (Baritone)
Beppe (in the play, ' Harlequin ')
JOHN ARMSTRONG (Tenor)
Silvio, a Villager HERBERT SIMMONDS (Baritone)
THE STATION CHORUS
Chorus Master, S. H. WHITTAKER
THE AUGMENTED STATION ORCHESTRA
Conducted by T. H. MORRISON
ONE of the most popufar operas of the last forty years is I Paghacci, or The Play-Actors.
It is a short, two-art piece, with a simple but telling plot. In it is shown the acting of a domestic drama, tragically borne out in earnest in the life of the actors.
In a PROLOGUE, Tonio (Bartione), the Clown. in his stage costume, appears through the curtains. and reminds us that actors have hearts like the rest of mankind, and are subject to the same joys and sorrows.
The curtain rises to show us an Italian village. where a Touring Company has just arrived, and is being greeted uproariously by the Villagers (Chorus). Soon the h?ad of the troupe, Canio (Tenor), gains attention by persistently banging his drum. and then announces the time of the coming show. He introduces to his audience Nedda. his wife (Soprano).
Presently everyone leaves except Nedda, who lies down on a bank. and. thinking of her own girlhood, wistfully meditates on the freedom of the birds around her.
Soon she is joined by Tonio. who tries to make love to her. and gets a lash across the face as his reward. He goes away vowing vengeance.
One of the villagers, Silvio (Baritone), now joins her. He is in love with her and she with him. A love scene follows, Silvio begging Nedda to run away with him.
Tonio overhears, and brings Canio. They surprise Silvio and Nedda, but Silvio escapes. Members of the troupe interpose between the enraged Canio and his wife. It is time to prepare for the play. Left alone, Canio sings his famous song, ' On with the motley.' and disappears through the curtains of their improvised stage.
When Act II begins. Tonio is beating the drum to call the people together for the show. They come from all sides, singing. Silvio amongst them.
When everyone has settled down, and money has been collected. the play begins. Its plot is that of a wife (played by Nedda) who, while her husband is away. entertains to supper a lover (played by another member of the Company). Beppe (Tenor). The returning husband (played by Canio) comes in, and the guest jumps out of the window.
The husband fiercely reproaches the wife.
Canio forgets his lines in the awful reality of the situution. At last he loses control of himself, and actually stabs Nedda to death. Silvio rushes up from the audience, but lie is too late, and Canio, recognizing him, stabs him also. The crowd seize Canio, who says : ' The comedy is ended.'