THE AUGMENTED STATION ORCHESTRA, Conducted by T. H. Morrison
SULLIVAN'S Overture has been heard on many a solemn memorial occasion since its composition some sixty years ago.
The story of its production has a note of personal tragedy. For the Norwich Festival of 1866, Sullivan (then twenty-four years old) was to write a new work. About a month before tho Festival he told his father in despair that he could get no satisfactory idea. His father, however, prophesied that something would be sure to happen which would inspire him. Three days later the father died, and Sullivan expressed his grief in the In Memoriam Overture, which was duly produced at' the Norwich Festival.
This is a large-scale Overture, complex, but not obscure. It opens at a steady pace, 'with religious feeling.' A simple tune is given out by a Woodwind quartet, Oboe playing the tune. This is well known as a hymn-tune. After this has been repeated, there immediately follows the main body of the piece, marked 'very quick.' This is very dramatic music. Many distinctive tunes are introduced, and treated with great variety. The prevailing mood is forceful.
The Overture ends with the hymn-tune melody, played by the whole Orchestra and full Organ, a great triumphal song.
THE conflict between love and desire for vengeance is the dramatic idea on which Massenet's Opera is based.
The Lady Chimene is loved by, and loves, the military leader, Rodrigue (Spain's eleventh-century hero, who was named 'The Lord' - 'Seid,' or 'Il Cid,' by his enemies the Moors).
But Rodrigue is forced by circumstances to kill in a duel the father of Chimene. Thereafter she is torn between love and revenge, until at last she marries her country's hero, rather than pronounce his death-sentence with her own lips.
A plot so full of dramatic and exciting doings naturally gave Massenet scope for highly coloured music. The Ballet introduces seven Spanish dances, thus entitled: (1) Castillane; (2) Andalouse; (3) Aragonaise; (4) Aubade or Dawn Song; (5) Catalane; (6) MadrilÃÂ¨ne; (7) raise.
TWO Irish tunes are used in Stanford's one-Movement work. The first is Leatherbags Donmll, an insistent, brisk melody that uses one little scrap of tune several times in a few bars. After this has been repeated, we have some development of it. The Harp helps to change the scene for the second tune's appearance. This is the lovely melody widely known as the Londonderry Air, and, in the form of a song, as Emer's Farewell to Cuchullin (in Stanford's collection of Songs of Old Ireland). It is heard on 'Cellos, then on Oboes, then on Violins. After somo development, back comes the First Tune. Quickly follows the slow second Air, and then an ingenious combination of the two. After a kind of cadenza or improvisatory passage for Strings comes the Coda or rounding-off part, in lively time, constructed chiefly from the Emer melody, the Leatherbags rhythm coming in at the end.
WE know the March as a famous extract from Berlioz's Faust, but it had no place in the first version of that work. In 1846 Berlioz was visiting Buda-Pesth, and, on 'the advice of a friend, picked out from a collection a national air (it may or may not be a folk-tune), which is named after the patriot Rakoczy, and worked it up into this March, to please the Hungarians. It went so well that he introduced it into Faust, 'taking the liberty,' as he said, 'of putting Faust in Hungary, and making him witness the passage of a Hungarian army across the plain.'