Relayed from the National Museum of Wales
National Orchestra of Wales
Tchaikovsky has left it on record that while composing this Suite, which is among the happiest and most carefree of all his music, he was himself in a thoroughly depressed frame of mind. No hint of any dismal mood has found its way into the music.
It was composed originally for a ballet by Dumas the elder, with the name 'Histoire d'un Casse-Noisette' ('The Tale of a Nutcracker'), in 1891, and in the following year Tchaikovsky arranged the movements which are to be played this evening in the form of a Suite.
In the first movement, the Overture, there are two principal themes, both of a delicate, almost miniature, order. The first especially is prominent throughout the movement.
A little March follows, also with dainty rhythm and melody, and the third movement has the happy title of Dance of the Sugar- Plum Fairy, It was in this movement that the Celeste made its first appearance in a concert orchestra. Tchaikovsky had heard the instrument in Paris soon after it was brought out by Mustel, and immediately determined that he must be the first composer to make use of it. He took a great deal of trouble to have it kept secret until the Nutcracker music could be heard. It is certainly used in this movement with the happiest effect.
A series of Dances follows, the first a Russian Dance, a Trepak, vigorous, energetic, and with a sense of out of doors; an Arabian Dance comes next, with a dreamy, almost lazy, movement, and with a languorous effect made largely by the monotonous bass; the next, a Chinese Dance, whimsical and bizarre; again it is followed by a Reed Pipe Dance, delicate, fresh, and graceful. These, although actually separate movements, are grouped together in the Suite, and though the last movement is also a dance, it stands separately. It is a Waltz with a fine flowing waltz tune such as Tchaikovsky knew very well how to write.
National Orchestra of
A Military Programme
'Carry Me Out'
A Military 'Bellowdrama' by E. A. Bryan
Major Black is in hiding in a gloomy subterranean cellar, for he is about to be court-martialled for theft of a secret cypher.
The Colonel's daughter comes to save him and suggests to him to play 'possum.' The General and the Colonel arrive, and the Major succeeds in bluffing them all until an unfortunate accident occurs. It is only then, however, that the fun really begins.
Writer (Carry Me Out):
Colonel Gloom, a Wireless Fan:
Major Black ('Ambrose'):
Miss Fit ('Adela'), the Colonel's daughter: