Relayed from the National Museum of Wales
National Orchestra of Wales
The Yellow Princess was the first operatic work which Saint-Saens put on the stage. That was in 1872, when he was thirty-seven. The piece did not succeed; no one could have guessed that within five years he would be represented by an opera which is one of the most popular of all stage works-Samson and Delilah.
The Yellow Princess, a light opera in one Act, is based on a story by Louis Gallet, about a scientist who falls in love with a Japanese carving, takes a drug, and dreams that he is in Japan. On awaking, he finds a more satisfactory love than that for a statue.
Saint-Saens, always a neat hand with the paint-brush, contrived to give his subject attractive 'local colour'.
Quilter is one of the two or three living English Composers who seem to get nearest to the spirit of Shakespeare. The Suite we are to hear was written in 1922, and includes four pieces, the first three being the Introductions to the several Acts, and the last a dance that winds up the play. The titles are: (1) Shepherd's Holiday; (2) Evening in the Forest; (3) Merry Pranks; and (4) Country Dunce.
The origins of the tale of Tristan and Isolde (Iseult) are lost in legendry. Apparently it is an old Celtic romance. It was on the thirteenth-century version that Wagner based his great love-drama, a work which, in its kind, has never been surpassed.
The wonderful Prelude epitomizes the transcendent, passionate love of Tristan and Isolde.
Liszt's popular piece is a musician's interpretation of one view of life-Lamartine's, in the poem in which he asks 'What is life but a series of preludes to the song that death begins?'
There is the Prelude of Love, and the tempests that break in upon its joy. There is another Prelude in which the unhappy lover seeks balm in quiet retirement from the world; but when the trumpet peals he rushes to the fight, finding his real strength in battle.
These ideas give Liszt scope for picturesque vivid music, in the Symphonic Poem we are to hear.
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