Relayed from the Queen's Hall
Sir Henry Wood and his Symphony Orchestra
Flora Woodman (soprano), Percy Whitehead (baritone), Harold Samuel (pianoforte)
Orchestra: Overture to Fidelio ...... Beethoven
One of Beethoven's finest traits - his persistence in the endeavour to reach a goal that should completely satisfy his artistic conscience and fully express his ideasÃ¢ÂÂis shown in his writing (over a period of nearly ten years) no fewer than four Overtures for his solitary Opera, Fidelio. Three of them are known by the name of the heroine, Leonora, and are numbered for identification purposes 1, 2, and 3. Only the last of the four is called by the Opera's title. It is simpler and of somewhat smaller scope than the three Leonoras.
Percy Whitehead: Air, Non piÃÂ¹ andrai (No more you'll go), from Figaro ...... Mozart
Harold Samuel and Orchestra: Second Pianoforte Concert ...... Beethoven
Beethoven's earliest appearance on a Vienna platform as a soloist was when, in 1795, he gave the first performance of this concerto. It is called the second, but it was actually written before that which is commonly numbered as the first.
At that time Mozart had only been dead a few years, and Haydn was still alive. It is not, then, to be wondered at that Beethoven's early works show a good deal of these masters' stylos, and in this concerto especially the influence of Mozart is apparent. Beethoven was not too puffed up about the work, which, he said, was not one of his best, and for which he only asked his publisher ten ducats (Â£5).
The music is in the usual three-movement division of the concerto.
First movement. We have at the start the regular opening in which the orchestra shows us the first main tune, before the pianoforte takes it up. Similarly, the second main tune is first heard from the orchestra (first violins and bassoons), to be duly adopted by the soloist. The working out of this material, and the representation of it practically in its original form, make up the life of the movement.
Second movement. One theme only is used, recurring, after little contrasting episodes, in various settings, with typical ornamentation of the tune. Happy hints are here and there to be found of the individuality that was already breaking through the screen of Mozart's and Haydn's influence.
Last movement. A care-free rondo, in which the piano has first cut at all three main tunes. No gayer wind-up for a light-weight work could bo imagined.
Flora Woodman: Air, Batti, batti (Beat me), from Don Juan ...... Mozart
Orchestra: Symphony No 9 in D Minor (excluding the choral final) ...... Beethoven
There are four movements in the symphony, three of which we are to hear.
Of the first three movements each is in a different way powerful and moving. From the mysterious opening sounds the first movement seems to show the composer face to face with the immensities and problems of life, and in music expressing what could be expressed in no other way.
There follow the scherzo of boisterous vitality (with an interlude of charming rustic simplicity) and the song-like, gravely beautiful slow movement, which, when the work is performed in full, passes without any pause into the last movement.
Scherzo, The 'Prentice Sorcerer ...... Dukas
Ma fille, veux-tu un bouquet? (French Canadian folksong)
Die Sonne scheint nicht mehr (German folksong)
The Vesper Hymn ...... arr. Flora Woodman
The Blue Hills of Antrim (Irish) ...... arr. Hamilton Harty
The Next Market Day ...... arr. H. Hughes
The Riddle Song (USA) ...... arr. Duff
Yarmouth Fair (English) ...... arr. P. Warlock
Shepherd Fennel's Dance ...... Gardiner