• Show TV Channels

    Hide TV Channels

  • Show Radio Channels

    Hide Radio Channels

  • Show Years

    Hide Years

  • Issues

Close group

Close group

Day Navigation


: John Gilpin

A Ballad for Chorus and Orchestra
Set to Music by FREDERIC H. COWEN
A Cantata for Tenor, Bass, Chorus and Orchestra
Set to Music by HUBERT PARRY
Relayed to London and Daventry
FEW light choral works contain so many felicitous touches of humour as Parry's Pied Piper. Parry entered into the spirit of the poet's fun, and gave us, too, the simple pathos in the legend.
The work is not divided up into distinct sections, with Solos and Choruses containing a good deal of repetition, as in the older Cantata style, but follows the changing moods of the story rapidly, and keeps the action moving alertly.
A short Introduction brings in some of the chief themes, and then the Chorus starts off with Hamelin Town's in Brunswick, and tells how the people suffered from the rats, that fought the dogs and killed the cats, and even spoiled the women's chats with shrieking and squealing in fifty different sharps and flats.
The indignant citizens march to the Town
Hall, and with their threats of what will happen if the Mayor and Corporation don't speedily banish the rats, make the dignified city fathers quake - and the music lets us hear their shivering.
The Pied Piper enters, to a sweet little theme with a drooping cadence. The excitement created by his offer to rid the town of rats is painted by Chorus and Orchestra. Then we hear the notes of his pipe and the gathering of the army of rats, and follow their vast procession through the streets with the Piper tootling strangely at their head. A downward scurry in the Orchestra indicates the creatures' plunge into the River Weser; and, at the word 'perished' there is a comical touch of Chopin's Funeral March, the theme of which is immediately quickened up into a dance of joy at the riddance. The ringing of bells is followed by the re-appearance of the Piper (accompanied by his little theme). He asks for his thousand guilders fee, and is offered fifty, which he refuses. If he is provoked, he hints, he may 'pipe after another fashion.' 'Do your worst,' replied the Mayor, 'blow your pipes there till you burst ! '
The Piper returns no answer, but the sweet notes of his instrument are heard again. This time, he draws all the Hamelin children with him, and Chorus and Orchestra depict them skipping and tripping merrily after the mystic music. To the Koppelberg Hill the Piper leads them, and the anxious parents think all is well, after all. 'He never can cross that mighty top. He's forced to let the piping stop.....'
But a wondrous portal ' opens in the mountain side, and, with a last faint sound from the pipe, the player disappears, followed by the bewitched children, and the door shuts fast.


Unknown: William Cowper
Music By: Frederic H. Cowen
Unknown: Robert Browning
Music By: Hubert Parry
Chorus Master: S. H. Whittaker
Conducted By: T. H. Morrison
The Pied Piper: Arthur Wilkes (tenor)
The Mayor of Hamelin: Reginald Whitehead (bass)

About this project

This site contains the BBC listings information which the BBC printed in Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. You can search the site for BBC programmes, people, dates and Radio Times editions.

We hope it helps you find information about that long forgotten BBC programme, research a particular person or browse your own involvement with the BBC.

Through the listings, you will also be able to use the Genome search function to find thousands of radio and TV programmes that are already available to view or listen to on the BBC website.

There are more than 5 million programme listings in Genome. This is a historical record of the planned output and the BBC services of any given time. It should be viewed in this context and with the understanding that it reflects the attitudes and standards of its time - not those of today.

To read scans of the Radio Times magazines from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s, you can navigate by issue.

Welcome to BBC Genome

Genome is a digitised version of the Radio Times from 1923 to 2009 and is made available for internal research purposes only. You will need to obtain the relevant third party permissions for any use, including use in programmes, online etc.

This internal version of Genome, which includes all the magazine covers, images and articles as well as the programme listings from the Radio Times, is different to the version of BBC Genome that is available externally/to the public. It is only available inside the BBC network.

Your use of this version of Genome is covered by the BBC Acceptable Use of Information Systems Policy and these terms.

BBC Guidance

This historical record contains material which some might find offensive
Continue Cancel