Relayed from the Assembly Rooms, City Hall
National Orchestra of Wales
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite
In the long and almost cloistered life of serenity which Cesar Franck devoted with a real singleness of purpose to music, heedless not only of other interests, but even of the success or failure, in the popular sense, of his own works, he made use of practically every known form. In no one can he be said to have been specially at home, but of all it is steadily becoming clearer that he enriched and widened their power and scope, revealing an individuality at once strong and gracious.
His one Symphony bears the date 1889. It is unlike the classical models in this, that the principal theme appears in all the Movements, and in this, too, that the materials are developed with a freedom such as the classical masters did not anticipate.
The first Movement begins with a slow section, in which the lower strings foreshadow the principal tune of the main first Movement. There is another theme which the attentive listener will recognize as furnishing the material for the chief tune of the last Movement. After the first section of the chief part of the first Movement, in quick time, the slow tune from the introduction is repeated, and when the quick part has been heard again, it gives way to a new theme. After that we hear the great second tune which has a largo share in the course of the Symphony. The whole orchestra plays it with noble emphasis.
In the slow Movement, the English horn has the first tune, and the second is really a modification of the big second tune of the first Movement. There follows a section which is in form and tunes like a Scherzo with its alternative Trio, and then the slow Movement returns. Again the attentive listener will hear two of the earlier themes played together.
The last Movement begins with a new tune, a joyous one in the major mode, but much of the Movement is based on tunes of the earlier part of the work, and again the great second tune from the first Movement is prominent.
National Orchestra of
Ernst von Dohnanyi was only twenty when he made his first appearance as a concert pianist, stepping at once into the very front rank of executants. A year later, having won laurels in all the principal music centres of Germany and Austria-Hungary, he appeared with no less success in this country, and, in 1899, in the United States. As a composer he was known at first by his fresh and attractive music for his own instrument; for a good many years, however, he has been steadily gaining wider recognition as a composer of orchestral and chamber music, and latterly of music for the stage. Although making comparatively little use of actual folk tunes, most of his music is strongly characteristic of his native Hungary; it is all distinguished not only by very able craftsmanship, but by a genuine gift of invention, flavoured with a happy sense of laughter.
The work to be played this evening consists of seven numbers in which he sets forth, in a vivid and picturesque way, something of rural life in his native Hungary.
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