Relayed from THE TOWN HALL, MAESTEG
NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES (Corddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
(Leader, Louis LEVITUS)
Conducted by WARWICK BRAITHWAITE
THERE is hardly any side of music which Saint-
Saens did not touch, and though ho was a pianist himself, he enriched the literature of the violin in a way for which players and listeners aliko will always be grateful. From the moment when his concertos appeared they were immediately adopted with enthusiasm by the greatest artists of the day and, with the possible exception of the big second violoncello Concerto which is now but rarely heard, all of them remain in the present-day repertoire. The-frequency with which this sparkling and vivacious Rondo appears in programmes is evidence of the delight with which violinists play it, and of the effect which it never fails to make.
THE Symphony begins at once with the famous phrase which is known as ' Fate knocking at the door'; it is commonly supposed that Beethoven himself allowed this to be accepted as an interpretation of the four-note theme which, as a rhythmic figure, pervades most of the great first movement. It reappears, too, in the slow movement, and in the second theme of the Scherzo.
The slow movement opens with a broad singing melody played by violas and violoncolli in unison. The rest of the orchestra carry this on, and then the second subject appears, quietly at first, breaking out anon in a joyous C major.
The third movement is in Beethoven's own Scherzo form, intended, like those of the Sixth and Seventh Symphonies, and the great Pianoforte Trio in B Flat, to be repeated, along with the Trio, twice over, and rounded off by a second da capo. It begins with a very soft theme on the bassos, continued by upper strings, horns, and wood-winds, and coming to rest on a pause. Then the horns announce the theme which is so vivid a reminder of the opening of the first movement, and oh these the Scherzo is built up. The Trio is begun with a running figure on the basses, which Berlioz thought suggestive of elephants dancing. It leads, through a very beautiful transition passage, to the opening of the last movement, a triumphant major, played by the whole strength of the orchestra. It is here that, for the first time in the history of the classical Symphony, trombones make their appearance. The Movement is rounded off by a noble Coda.