On the first Sunday in each month until March, when the Centenary of Beethoven's death occurs, a Beethoven Programme will be performed as a tribute to the great Composer. In this series Nigel Dallaway (Pianoforte) and the Station Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Lewis, will give the five Pianoforte Concertos and the Fantasia for Pianoforte, Chorus and Orchestra
This Overture was written not for Shakespeare's tragedy, but for a drama by an Austrian, one von Collin.
Wagner, in an essay on the music, presumes that Beethoven had in mind one particular scene in Shakespeare's play - that in which Coriolanus, having been banished from his native city and having joined its enemies, yielded to the prayers of his wife and mother, and refused to besiege the city. For this he was condemned to death by his allies. Wagner suggests that the hero is pictured in the opening melody, and the prayers of the women in the second, gentle, tune. The conflict between his desires and their pleadings goes on, says the commentator; and certainly, if ever a piece of music suggested mental conflict, this Overture does so. The final bars contain a broken, faltering form of the melody that at the opening was so strong and bold-a dramatic, imaginative stroke the makes us feel the deep tragedy of Coriolanus's end.
MAY MARTIN (Contralto)
God in Nature
THE Heavens declare the Lord's infinite glory .... and the earth and sea sound
His name ... Hear, O man, what they tell ! He created the stars, and calls from His tent the Sun, coming in brightness from afar, and moving upon his course like a hero.'
NIGEL DALLAWAY and Orchestra
First Pianoforte Concerto in C Major, Op. 15
THOUGH this is called the first of Beethoven's
Concertos because it was the earliest to be published, it was really the second in order of composition. If one compares it with the so-called Second Concerto, it will be found to be in many ways an advance upon that. It was written when the composer was about twenty-eight, and is full of life and grace.
As was usual in the Concerto at that time, the Orchestra alone, in the opening bars, first presents the chief themes (though it should not do this so fully that the Piano is left with little that is fresh to say about them when it comes in, there is a weakness of that kind in the First Movement of this Concerto : but. the Piano has some brilliant and forceful matter to deal with, and holds its own gallantly). Near the end there is a pause for the 'Cadenza,' when the Piano goes off on an adventure of its own. Beethoven, apparently dissatisfied with himself, wrote three Cadenzas to this Movement, the last of which is one of the finest examples we have of this kind of Pianoforte oratory. The SLOW MOVEMENT is based on an expressive melody which the Solo instrument richly decorates. The Clarinet has a particularly beautiful and important part to play.
The LAST MOVEMENT is the usual Rondo, the phrases of its First Main Tune delightfully extended beyond the usual four-bar length, in a fashion that reminds us of Haydn, and shows that the Composer is bent on keeping the tune 'in the air' all the time.
The contrasting Second Tune comes in on the First Violins and Oboes, and (after the return of the original melody) a Third appears on the Piano (the left hand leaping spiritedly up and down), accompanied by a brief conversation between Flutes and Bassoons. There are three little Cadenzas in this Movement, before the Orchestra steps in and has the last word.
MAY MARTIN and Orchestra
Aria, 'In questa Tomba Oscura'
THIS air was the last of a series of no fewer than sixty-three settings of a poem (one which had originally been improvised to fit a tune made up at. the Piano, at a musical gathering). Parr, Salieri, Cherubini, and other composers, joined in the game of setting in questa tomba, one man, Zingarelli, actually writing ten settings of it!
The poet imagines a lover who has died of grief at his lady's neglect; she, repentant, weeps over his grave, and his spirit enjoins her to let him rest - she should have thought of him while he was alive. He wants no deceitful tears now ; ho would have peace for his weary spirit.
Finale from 'Prometheus' Ballet Suite