(Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
Conducted by WARWICK BRAITHWAITE
THE son of an eminent surgeon, William Wallace was intended for the same calling, and was a brilliant graduate in Medicine, of Glasgow and Vienna Universities. The call of music proved to be too strong, however, and though Dr. Wallace did splendid work during the War, at the head of the Ophthalmic section of the Army Medical Services, he has for many years past given himself up mainly to composition. He has made his mark, too, in the world of letters, writing not only the words of much of his own vocal music, but contributing articles of value and interest to periodical literature. He is the author, too, of a mystery play, The Divine Stir-render, and of an important work on music published in 1908. ' Villon ' is the sixth of his Symphonic Poems in order of composition; it was first produced at a ' Prom ' in 1909. It presents the poet with something of the sympathy which Strauss shows towards ' Till Eulenspiegel '—rogue and vagabond, with but little regard for the proprieties or mankind's laws, but gifted, none the less, with two real saving graces, poetry and laughter.
It is the finer and more tender side of the character which William Wallace 's music portrays.
The different sections of the Symphonic Poem are based on moods suggested by extracts from Villon's own verses, as a humble scholar, with his memories of happy youth, then a follower of Bacchus and the little god of Love, and, after that, the melancholy poet who asks where are the snows of yester year. The fine section in slow time, which comes next, is based on the beautiful old woman's prayer which Villon made at his mother's request, but it is followed quickly by the riotous call of Paris. There is again a contemplative mood, an echo of past youth, but it, too, makes way for mirth until, at the very end, the bell of Sorbonne tolls its solemn warning.