(Relayed from the Queen's Hall)
Sir HENRY J. WOOD and his SYMPHONY
MAY BUSBY (Soprano)
WALTER WIDDOP , (Tenor)
WAGNER's early Opera, Lohengrin, and his last great work, Parsifal, are both founded on legends of the Grail, the sacred relic of the Holy Eucharist.
Lohengrin is a Knight of the Grail who comes to the help of an earthly kingdom, and, more particularly, of a royal maiden. Wagner regarded this legend as symbolical of universal spiritual truths.
The short Prelude to the Opera is intended as a preparation for what follows, suggesting the idea of the Grail.
THE MASTERSINGERS, Wagner's one
Comedy, is for many people the best work he ever wrote.
The Prelude to Act III belongs to the tenderer moods of the work. It introduces the scene in which the poet-philosopher-eobbler, Hans Sachs , sits at his table, reading and meditating, in the glow of the sun of midsummer morning, upon the life and the strife of men.
The Apprentices' Dance comes in the last scene of the Opera, when the citizens are assembled in a meadow outside Nuremberg to hear the great song competition, the prize in which is the hand of the heroine.
The Apprentices' Dance is brought to an end by the appearance of the dignified Mastersingers, whose imposing themes are features of the Overture to the Opera.
T ISTENERS will remember how Tannhauser, after his fall from grace, made a pilgrimage to Rome to seek the Pope's forgiveness; but he sought in vain.
The well-known Pilgrim's Song comes into the Prelude to the third Act. Tannhauser's sin is recalled by snatches of the passionate Venusberg music, and the brass instruments tell of the consequences of his fall-the curse laid upon him by the Pope.
Thus the Orchestra prepares us for the tragedy of the final scene of the Opera.
The version of the Introduction we are to hear is that which Wagner first wrote. He later decided that it was too long for use in the theatre, and curtailed it to a little over half its original length.
THIS is the conclusion of the first of the great
Music Dramas that make up The Ring.
Valhalla, the wonderful home of the Gods, has been built by the giants. Over a rainbow bridge the Gods and Goddesses pass into it. The musiu suggests not merely pomp, but also dignity and authority.
IN The Valkyrie a magic sword is broken into fragments in the hands of Siegmund,
Siegfried's father. Years later (in the next Opera, Siegfried) these bits of broken steel are all that remains to tell Siegfried, now a strapping ]ad, of the parents whom he never beheld. He has grown up a child of the forest, with only Mime, an old and ugly dwarf, for companion. Now he longs to fare forth into the world, a man ; so he welds the sword together again, singing these songs as he works at the dwarf's forge.
EVERYBODY knows the Mastersingers Overture, with its burghers' solemn stateliness, its charming foretaste of the love-music of the Opera, and its hint of the apprentices, who make game of their serious music-making masters.
THIS work, one of the many inspired by the story of the libertine Don Juan of the Spanish legend, is founded on a poem of the Hungarian writer Lenau (1802-1850). He presents the Don as a man in search of an ideal woman, in whom he can enjoy all perfections. He is continually disappointed, and finds nothing but weariness in all his adventures. At length Disgust (for thus is Satan figured in this version) brings an end to his adventures.
We find, then, in the music all the moods of Don Juan â€” his youthful fire, the maidenly charm of women, and then the philanderer's disappointment and spiritual defeat.
ORCHESTRA Symphonic Poem, ' Don Juan ' - Richard Strauss
MAY BUSBY Nacht und Traume - Schubert
Das Madchen Spricht - Brahms
Er ist's - Hugo Wolf
WALTER WIDDOP Recit. and Air, ' Sound an alarm' (' Judas Maccabseus ') - Handel
ORCHESTRA Three Dances from * Henry VIII' - German