THE MIDLAND STRING ORCHESTRA, conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS
ELGAR'S complete command of the material he is using is nowhere more clearly manifest than in his music for strings alone. What might be in less experienced hands a restriction, seems to offer him special scope for showing how much variety he can evolve from string tone without the aid of orchestral wind instruments.
The most important, as it is among the most popular, of his early works, with the possible exception of the ' Froissart' Overture, is the String Serenade, Op. 20, in three movements. Its effectiveness owes a good deal, no doubt, to the composer's intimate knowledge of the violin, and to his youthful experience as director of a local band, modest alike in size and in attainment. There can be but few orchestras throughout the modem world of music which have not at least attempted this thoroughly wholesome and melodious music.
The violas begin the dainty, tripping, first movement with a figure which is heard in the last movement too. There are two main tunes, one which follows immediately after the opening. The other is in two sections, one in major and the other leaping upwards a seventh at the beginning. The movement is closed by a repetition of the first tune. The second tune is heard again in the last movement.
The second movement, a short Larghetto, is always regarded as the gem of the Serenade. There is a brief Prelude, in which the opening phrase is effectively used on the different instruments, and then the main subject appears on the first violin—a long, flowing melody. There is a brief contrasting section, and the main tune is repeated in a fuller and richer form, the short movement coming to an. end with a reminder of the phrase of the Prelude.
The last movement begins with a smooth flowing tune and, as mentioned above, the opening and the second tune of the first moves ment are heard again.
A RELIGIOUS SERVICE, conducted by the Rev. W. ROBERTS , of St. Stephen's Church, Smethwick
Relayed from the Cathedral, Birmingham
Order of Service:
Hymn,' Just as I am ' (English Hymnal, No. 316)
Psalms 15 and 16 Address Hymn, ' 0 worship the King' (English
Hymnal, No. 466) Benediction
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