Relayed from the National Museum of Wales
National Orchestra of Wales
Although this Overture is already a quarter of a century old, the London of which it gives so bright a picture is very much the 'Town' as we know it today-many-sided, many-coloured, carefree, and haphazard, but yet with a thought of its own dignity. And the picture is no doubt the more true, embodying, as it does, the impressions of one who neither claims nor aspires to be a Londoner himself.
It is dedicated, and the words are surely among the most gracious and kindly which stand upon any title-page - 'To my many friends, the Members of British Orchestras.'
The opening is eloquent of the crowded streets, the bustle of every day. Quite soon, there is an episode descriptive of the more serious and dignified side of London's character, and, after a return of the gay opening, we hear a theme which portrays two young lovers. London urchins are then cunningly presented by a merry doubling of the 'Nobilmente' theme (London's dignity), in the very way in which Wagner's' Apprentices' make fun of the stately Masters' theme. A now episode is a Military Band heard first afar off, drawing near, and passing by with blatant pomp and brilliance, fading again into the distance. Again a little later, the young lovers are assailed by band music-this time by a rough-and-ready street band. Its well-meant, but dissonant, efforts are heard in a grotesque version of the first band tune. A quieter section follows; the lovers have found sanctuary, and only echoes of the busy streets can reach them. What follows is repetition of these episodes, and the Overture finishes in the gay mood in which it began.
Borodin shared his short and strenuous life between music and chemistry, making his mark in no uncertain fashion on both. He delivered one of his lectures to the medical school at Petrograd on the very day on which he died. He used to say himself that the only times he could spare for composition were when he was too ill to do his medical work, so that friends used to greet him, not with the customary, 'I hope you are well,' but rather, 'I hope you are ill.' The East always appealed to him strongly; he had something of it in his blood, and his father was a Prince of the old State of Imeretia, beyond the Caucasus. The vivid suggestions of Oriental pomp and colour which can be heard in his music, are thus no mere imitations, but as natural an expression of his own feelings as are any national characteristics in music.
There are four movements in the Symphony, which is pretty much in the classical form. The principal theme of the first movement is easily recognized; it begins emphatically on all the strings in unison at the outset. The second tune, of which much use is made, is like a Russian folk-song, and one other tune, similarly Russian and song-like in character, completes the material for the first movement.
The second movement is a Scherzo with the usual three sections, first and third being the same, with a contrasted middle part. First and third are very quick, with a more gracious tune in the middle which the Oboe plays at first. The slow movement begins in a restless way, and something of striving and searching may be imagined in the earlier part of it until the big flowing tune, which begins on the basses and soars upwards seems to set all doubts at rest.
In the last movement there is more suggestion of the barbaric East than in the other three. It calls on all the available resources of the orchestra, and the noisiest members of the band are exploited with a wholehearted gusto. Listeners will hear two principal tunes, a merry bustling one in a rhythm which changes from three to two in the bar; it appears immediately after a short introduction. The other flows along happily in a steady three in the bar.
National Orchestra of
Relayed from the Clifton Arts Club, Bristol
An Hour of Light Entertainment which includes the following:
A Sketch by Cyril Roberts
A Burlesque on Modern Society
An extravaganza on the best Russian models
(Under the direction of Nora Roberts)
A Morality by Froom Tyler
Performed by Bristol's Little Theatre Repertory Players
Relayed from The Little Theatre, Bristol
David and Celia are a young married couple who have tired of civilization and have taken refuge in a cottage in the remotest part of Exmoorland. The owner of the cottage, Dewfall, is a nature-lover and mystic, and his influence is more potent than the powers of nature in the wilds. Yet he affects husband and wife very differently at first. The lamp has been lit, but through the uncurtained windows the stars may be seen.