The Station Orchestra, conducted by Warwick Braithwaite
The story of Hercules in the power of the lovely, woman, Omphale, illustrating the victory of feminine weakness over man's strength, is the theme of this Symphonic Poem. A Prelude suggests the whir of the spinning-wheel, and introduces the First Main Tune, a skipping melody, which is varied at some length. The Composer says that the next section shows Hercules 'groaning under the bonds which he cannot break'. Hero a Second Main Tune, in the minor key, strives to rise, but falls again (Lower Strings and Bassoon). This works up to a climax, and declines in strength as tho hero finds himself ensnared. After a low note on the Strings, the Oboe has a changed version of the Theme of Hercules, which in its dancing rhythm seems to mock at the hero's efforts to free himself. These Tunes are developed, the spinning figure overwhelming all, and finally dying away in the heights of the Violins.
Phyllis Novinsky (Violin) and Orchestra
A Bergamask is, properly, an old rustic dance in imitation of one of Bergamo (Bottom, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, 'Will it please you to see the epilogue or to hear a Bergomask dance between two of our Company?'). Just what Debussy meant by the use of this word in the title of this early Piano Suite (for the original score is for Piano) is difficult to say. Perhaps he simply wanted a pleasant flavour of the antique and thought that word supplied it. The music itself conveys the same suggestion; it is not an actual reconstruction of the music of old tunes, but it at least revives the spirit of those dainty and delicate French composers of the eighteenth century to whom Debussy admitted so much indebtedness. There are four Movements in the Suite: Prelude, Minuet, Moonlight and Passepied.
Armed with his magic sword, Siegfried fights his way through the flames that for many years have encircled a high rock at the top of which sleeps Brunnhilde, waiting for the hero who will brave the ordeal and waken her to be his bride.
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