Relayed from the National Museum of Wales
NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES
(Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
BERLIOZ had a very poor opinion of his fellow-countryman, Herold, the composer of Zampa. He accused him of having no style of his own, combining in his music something borrowed from France, Germany, and Italy, to produce what Berlioz called ' merely Parisian music.' And of this opera he said, ' the banging of the big drum at the end is so continuous and furious that one is tempted to take to one's heels.' The world at large does not share that uncomplimentary verdict, and the Overture, with its vigour and energy, has always been popular, lending itself to performance in many different forms.
FREDERICK DELIUS , born in 1863 at Brad-ford, of German parentage, was intended at first for a commercial career. For a time engaged in Florida as an orange planter, he had reached his twentieth year before he was allowed to devote himself seriously to music. As a student in Leipzig, he made the acquaintance of Crieg, and something of Grieg's influence is thought by some critics to be discerned in his work. But there is very little trace of any outward influence on his music ; in many ways it is among the most distinctively new and original of the present age. In every way as modern as those of any present-day composer, his methods seem to have been devised by himself rather than inherited from any musical ancestor. He has a partiality for subjects of avowedly pictorial intent, and many of his works are of that order which defies anything like ordinary analysis. Of ' The First Cuckoo,' it must suffice to say that the principal theme, appearing after some introduction, is described by the composer as a Norwegian Folk tune. The clarinet presents the Cuckoo's voice, the other woodwinds and horns joining with the strings in many parts, to lend colour and picturesqueness to a piece of music which though not drawn with any distinct lines, is yet eloquent of its own subject.