Relayed from the National Museum of Wales
QCHUMANN was writing his music to Faust during several years. As early as 1844 he studied Goethe's book, and wrote a good deal of the music for his Scenes from Faust. The Overture was written last, in 1853. The work was first performed (without this prelude) in 1849, but the complete Scenes only came out thirteen years later.
HAYDN'S Symphony owes its name to the fact that the composer chose it for performance at an Oxford concert in 1791, when the University conferred on him the Degree of Doctor of Music. It is typical Haydn music, delightfully fresh and spontaneous, and full of humour.
There are four Movements in the Symphony, the style of each strikingly in contrast to that of the others.
The FIRST MOVEMENT, beginning with a slow
Introduction, breaks, after a pause, into a quick, spirited pace, and so continues throughout its course.
The SECOND MOVEMENT, the slow one, is really an Air with Variations, but the song-like, expressive theme is treated very freely, and sometimes practically disappears.
The THIRD MOVEMENT is the usual Minuet and Trio.
The LAST MOVEMENT is just an exhilarating express-speed dance.
NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES
Leader, ALBERT VOORSANGER
Conducted by WARWICK BRAITHWAITE
WE call this ' The Drumroll ' Symphony because it opens with a kettledrum rumble—a sort of call to attention. (Its key is E Flat. and its number in the new Breitkopf Edition is 103).
The work is planned in the usual four Movements, and the chief point of distinction in it is that in every Movement at least one of the Main Tunes is a folk-song of Haydn's native Croatia ; and very jolly tunes most of them are. Listen, for instance, to that dainty pair that dance into the FIRST MOVEMENT one after another and substitute themselves leaders in its game—a game that sounds so simple that you would think anyone could keep it going, but that is really so finely and scientifically put together.
A serious SECOND MOVEMENT, consisting of a short series of Variations on a theme, follows ; then there is a dainty, prim little MINUET (with a middle part that seems to have escaped from the governess's eye and sought a quiet corner, for a flirtation, perhaps ?), and a lively LAST MOVEMENT, splendidly engineered, and sounding perfectly spontaneous and immensely contented.
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