S.B. from Manchester
Scenes from Longfellow's Poem
Set to music by COLERIDGE-TAYLOR
Part 1. Hiawatha's Wedding Feast Part 11. The Death of Minnehaha
Part III. Hiawatha's Departure
BELLA BAILLIE (Soprano) WALTER WIDDOP (Tenor)
STANLEY BECKETT (Baritone)
THE SHEFFIELD CHORAL UNION
THE NORTHERN WIRELESS ORCHESTRA
The performance conducted by Sir HENRY COWARD
THE three Cantatas which make up this beautiful work were not originally thought of together, although they hang together not only in their story, but musically as well. Some of the themes are heard in all three parts.
The first one, Hiawatha's Wedding, appeared in 1898, when Coleridge-Taylor was only twenty-three, and was largely composed during his student days at the Royal College of Music. It was not the first of his works to win him recognition ; even in Germany a piece of chamber music of his had already then been brought out by the great Joachim himself. But Hiawatha's Wedding immediately won its way to the hearts of music lovers in this country by its quite new style and idiom. It seemed as though the music and the Longfellow poem had formed a wholly satisfying union. The music is indeed fitted to the text in a way which vocal music only rarely achieves.
The second part appeared only a year later at the North Staffordshire Festival, and the last part was first given by the Royal Choral Society at the Albert Hall early in 1900. The first part is wholly joyous, and tells not only of the wedding, but of the entertainment provided for the guests, first by Pau-puk-keewis who danced, Chibiabos who sang, and by lagoo, the great boaster.
The second recounts the coming of the two silent, gloomy, guests, Famine and Fever. Minnehaha is stricken down by them and Hiawatha goes forth into the wintry forest with his great bow, crying out to the great Spirit to give His children food. He comes back at evening to find Minnehaha dead, and this part ends with her burial and his farewell.
At the outset of the third part lagoo, the great boaster, returns and tells of a wonder he has seen. The others laugh at him, but Hiawatha alone knows that it is true; he has seen it in a vision. It is the coming of the white men which he has foreseen, and he bids his people welcome them. They land, and Hiawatha greets them; nt the end he bids farewell to his own people and sets forth in his canoe, turning his face towards the fiery sunset.