Tite AUGMENTED STATION ORCHESTRA
Conducted by WARWICK BRAITHWAITE
COMPOSERS have frequently found inspira. tion in the aspects of Nature. Of all the pieces depicting her in tempestuous mood, Wagner's Overture to The Flying Dutchman is surely the finest. As frequently happened in his life, an incident in his own career influenced his composition. He made a long and stormy sea voyage the year before he wrote the music, into which he put his memories of the anxious time on board ship. Three leading themes in the Overture are the Curse that the Evil One put upon the Dutchman, the prayer-like tune of Senta, who redeems him, and a gay sailor-song.
LEONORE WEEPLE (Contralto) and Orchestra
Although the words of the songs in this programme are humorous, that fact in itself would not justify the title. Pedants might be hard pressed to define humour in music, for mere eccentricity does not do it, nor jerkiness either. Perhaps we may borrow the child's phrase, ' a funny noise,' and leave the rest to the performers.
THE AUGMENTED Station ORCHESTRA Conducted by WARWICK BRAITHWAITE
DUKAS'S piece is a humorous musical illustration of a ballad by Goethe, about a magician's 'prentice-boy, who, while his master i3 away, copies his signs and spells, and raises spooks, but can't lay them. He makes them work for him—fetch buckets of water and swish them around, and sweep away vigorously.
But he forgets the spell ; the spirits can't be stopped, and the house is getting flooded. In the nick of time the sorcerer himself returns and removes the spell with a solemn incantation.
HERE is contrast! Debussy's happy little set of Children's Corner pieces, dedicated to his daughter, contains one or two capital bits of musical humour. In Jimbo's Lullaby (sub-titled The Elephant's Cradle Song) we can imagine that the deep bass tune of the opening is the mother elephant's lullaby, and the occasional interjections are the baby elephant's snores. The Cake-Walk makes amusing play with rag-time rhythms.
Beethoven's humour is of a very different kind. In his Heroic Symphony he was bent on ' taking a new road,' as he said. This Scherzo shows him already treading it. Critics of Beethoven's day much objected to it. Instead of a short, more or less formal Minuet and Trio, we have a long piece which, in point of emotional force, is on a level with the other three Movements, yet answers well to its title of Scherzo, or ' jest.' The form is, however, simply that of the usual Minuet and Trio, which is always played Minuet —Trio—Minuet.
The Trio is easily recognized by the fact that its tune is a typical horn-call.