This programme includes examples in several styles of this, the earliest phase of musical form.
THE BIRMINGHAM STUDIO AUGMENTED ORCHESTRA, conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS
AMONG the almost innumerable smaller works of Mozart there are many gems of musical literature ' (as Tchaikovsky called them) which have never become well known. It was in order to bring some of this unknown Mozart before the public that Tchaikovsky wrote his Suite, Mozartiana. It consists of orchestral arrangements of threo Piano Pieces and of the little Choral work Ave verum Corpus. The set of Variations forms the last piece in the Suite.
THE tune which forms the basis of the whole piece falls into several sections, expressing feelings of tenderness, mysticism, and exaltation. The five variations, in which the Piano and Orchestra carry on a wonderful dialogue of comment upon this theme, are not of the clear-cut older variation style, but, as the word ' Symphonic ' implies, are fairly elaborate (though quite clear), dignified, and of considerable depth of emotional expression.
A powerful little phrase is thrown out by the Orchestra ; this Pianoforte answers with a quiet one. The two parties discuss the matter for a while, then the time changes to three-in-a-bar, and the Strings pluck out a portion of the Main Tune for the Variations. But the Pianoforte interferes, expounds its opening idea further, and brings in the Orchestra for still more discussion. (All this does not take long.) After a climax the Pianoforte gives out the tune for variation-a lovely calm melody. The Orchestra joins it, and afterwards come the Variations. Wo shall hear, besides several treatments of the chief tune, references to the Orchestra's opening challenge, and to the Pianoforte's reply to it-the latter theme being changed into a gay dance towards the end.
SIR EDWARD GERMAN uses the word SIR Diversions ' because, we are told, the Theme is treated more freely in some of them than in the old-style Variations.
The Theme (which is preceded by a forceful
Introduction) is slow and solemn. Sir Edward German comes from the Welsh border, and perhaps it is permissible to find a suggestion of Welsh hymn-tune in this Theme. The Six Diversions are in the following styles :-
(1) Fairly quick, dignified; (2) Very quick and playful ; (3) Quick and lively. A Gipsy Dance ; (4) Slowish, but with movement ; calmly. The Muted Strings are here divided into ten parts; (5) Quick, in waltz style ; (6) Slowish, with movement.