Relayed from the National Museum of Wales
NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES
Prelude and Finale (' Tristan and Isolde ') Procession of the Grail (' Parsifal Traume (Dreams)
Overture, ' The Mastersingers
WAGNER himself arranged the Prelude and the last great scene of his drama Tristan and Isolde for concert performance in the form in which it is to be played this evening. He conducted several performances of it in this shape, before the whole work had been given.
Of the closing scene he tells us himself, ' It is the ecstasy of dying,.of the surrender of being, of the final redemption into that wondrous realm from which we wander farthest when we strive to take it by force. Shall we call this Death ? Is it not rather the wonder-world of night, out of which, so says the story, the ivy and the vine sprang forth in close embrace over the tombs of Tristan and Isolde ? '
Wagner evidently regarded the violoncello as the orchestral voice which should best express his themes associated with lovers. There are many instances in his works of its use in that way. Here, in the Prelude, the beginning of each phrase is played by the 'cellos, the expressive harmony being filled in by the wood winds, The second theme of the Prelude is also given to the 'cellos.
The end of the opera is the great lament which
Isolde sings before dying beside Tristan body.
It begins with a melody which is eloquent of grief, and rises to a great passionate climax of sorrow. But the music is of itself much more eloquent than any translation into words may hope to be.
Relayed from the Assembly Room, City Hall
NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES
(Leader, ALBERT VOORSANGER)
Conducted by WARWICK BRAITHWAITE
NOT merely the founder of the modern French
School of Music, but throughout his long and active career-he died in 1921 at the ripe old age of eighty-six—Saint-Saëns was also its guide and leader, unchallenged in his position as the most illustrious French musician of his time.
His wonderful vitality, his genial, sunny temperament, his great, wholesome sanity, are reflected in all his work ; in all of it, too, can be discerned the steadfast way in which he looked towards his own ideal of clear, unsullied beauty.
One of the most scholarly of composers, he turned more than once to the classical mythology for his subjects : in this symphonic poem he sets before us Ovid's story of Hercules' submission to Omphale, of his taking her place at the spinning wheel among her women, the while she donned his lion's skin and held his club, striking him with her sandals for his clumsiness. Saint-Saens meant his music to typify the constant triumph through the ages of woman's so-called weakness over the vaunted strength of mere man.
The poem begins with a prelude suggesting the spinning wheel—classic symbol of the eternal feminine, and then a dainty, tripping tune portrays Omphale. A big, robust tune, played first by bassoon and lower strings, is just as clearly Hercules. These are elaborated at some length, rising to a passionate fervour and falling anon into a quieter mood, and then we hear, in a tune of short, rrisp notes—an altered form of Hercules' tune—Omphale's use of her sandals in the time-hallowed fashion which the story tells.
All these tunes, as well as one more, closely akin to the Omphale melody, are heard again, and after the spinning wheel music has returned the piece comes to an end very softly.
WALTER GLYNNE and Orchestra
The English Rose German
Intermezzo, ' Traumbild ' (Dream
Pictures) .................. Blon
Hymn to St. Cecilia ........ Gounod Hungarian Rhapsody, No. I in F