SCOVELL and WHELAN (Entertainers at the Piano)
PAULINE and DIANA (Instrumental Duo)
MABEL CONSTANDUROS (in a ' Buggins ' Sketch)
ERNEST JONES (Banjo)
SARA SARONY at the Piano in ' An Act of Reminiscence '
PHILIP BROWN 'S DOMINOES DANCE BAND
A Screnata by HANDEL.
Words by J. GAY
MARGARET HARRISON (Soprano)
TOM PICKERING (Tenor)
HOWARD FRY (Bass)
THE BIRMINGHAM STUDIO CHORUS and AUGMENTED ORCHESTRA
(Leader, FRANK CANTELL)
Conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS
IN 1717, at the age of thirty-two, Handel returned to England from Hanover, where he had been with King George I, and soon after was appointed Master of the Music to the Duke of Chandos, going to reside at the Palace of Cannons ; it was there that the Pastoral Ode, Acis and Galatea, was composed. In the choir which Handel had there at his disposal there were evidently no altos, but so many tenors of unusually high compass that they could quite well replace the missing altos. The tenor part in Acts and Galatea, as in several of the other Chandos compositions, is divided into two or three parts, which demand an unusually high register.
The work has always been a favourite. Even those who do not know the work as a whole must have heard two numbers from it which are constantly sung, the tenor air, ' Love in her eyes sits playing,' and the still more popular bass air, ' 0 ruddier than the cherry.' There are only four characters, Galatea, a sea nymph (soprano voice); Acis and Damon, shepherds, both tenors, and the giant Polyphemus, bass. The chorus is made up of nymphs and shepherds, and the scene, in the original words, is ' A rural prospect, diversified with rocks, groves and a river.'
The orchestral Introduction has no slow movement by way of a prelude, but plunges at once into a vigorous, hurrying Presto. It finishes with a few bars of Adagio, which lead straight into the first chorus, ' 0 the pleasure of the plains.' Galatea has the next number, a Recitative and the aria, ' Hush, ye pretty warbling choir,' and Acis follows, singing,' Where shall I seek the charming fair ? ' Damon points out to him that he is neglecting his sheep—' Shepherd, what art thou pursuing ? ' and Acis replies with the air quoted above. After Galatea has sung, ' As when the dove laments her love,' the two join in a duet, ' Happy we,' which the chorus echoes.
The second part begins with a chorus which warns the two of the monster Polyphemus and their danger from him, and then he has his great song. After a little dialogue with Galatea, he continues, ' Cease to beauty to be suing,' and then Damon tells him how to act, ' Would you gain the tender creature.' Acis then sings ' Love sounds the alarm,' and the stern Damon once more counsels worldly wisdom in the air ' Consider, fond shepherd.' Then there is a stirring trio for the two lovers with Polyphemus, at the end of which the giant prepares to slay Acis. An impressive chorus bids the Muses mourn, and then Acis, with the chorus, has a lament. But the nymph exercises her divine power to make her lover immortal, and Acis appears as a god whom the chorus acclaim in the final number, ' Galatea, dry thy tears.'