National Orchestra of Wales
Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru
(Leader, Louis Levitus)
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite
Paul Dukas, although having already many works of real distinction to his credit, is known in this country as yet almost solely by this very clover Scherzo, a musical jest in which the orchestra is used with remarkable skill. Music attracted him strongly in his boyhood, and while he was still at school he produced two dramatic Overtures. He was barely seventeen when the Paris Conservatoire admitted him, and when lie left it with the coveted Prix de Rome he was still a mere youth.
Youthful fun and merriment can be heard through out the piece which listeners are to hear this evening, and there- are few examples in existence in which music tells a coherent story so vividly. The tale is a very old one: the original wizard who clothed broomsticks, changing them into slaves to do his bidding, learned his magic from the Egyptian goddess Isis. Dukas' music was inspired by the German poet Goethe's version of the story, in which the magician's apprentice, left alone with the broomstick, pronounces the magic syllables which set it to work on the drawing of water and bringing it to the house. But the boy cannot remember the words which undo the spell, and the carrying of water goes on until the house is well-nigh engulfed. In desperation the apprentice seizes an axe and chops the stick in half, only to find that his predicament is twice as bad as before, since both halves carry on the work with equal energy. Luckily, the master magician returns in time to avert complete disaster, and the tale ends happily.
National Orchestra of
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