MAY BLYTH (Soprano)
THE B.B.C. ORCHESTRA
(Leader, ARTHUR CATTERALL )
Conducted by ERNEST ANSERMET
To many listeners, the most interesting feature of Sunday evening's Orchestral Concert will be the appearance of Ernest Ansermet as conductor. Not only because of the great reputation which his distinguished work abroad has won him, but because of his enthusiastic interest in English music is he a specially welcome guest; his conducting, in a broadcast concert in 1930, of a programme by the younger English composers, a task which he carried out with genuine pleasure and with a wonderfully sympathetic insight into that new music, would of itself have endeared him to British audiences. But we knew him, and took our hats off to him long before that already.
And though present-day composers look to him as one who knows well what they are aiming at, he is no mere specialist in modern music, as tonight's programme will make clear to any who might doubt it. It includes not only overtures by Beethoven and Berlioz, but one of the great Concertos of that amazingly fresh old master John Sebastian Bach , whose music is as full of vitality as the most exuberant high spirits of today's young men. (Flute, ROBERT MURCHIE ; Oboe, ALEO
WHITTAKER; Trumpet, ERNEST HALL; Violin, ARTHUR CATTERALL)
ARTHUR HONEGGER , born in France in 1892, of Swiss parentage, is counted as belonging to the modern French school, of which he is one of the most interesting and original figures. In spite of dissonances which are apt to strike the older listener as harsh and, at times, needlessly painful, Honegger's music is really based on the old classical forms, and verges occasionally on scholastic pedantry. It is full of life and colour, and has a robust strength of its own which contrasts strongly with the somewhat light and airy fabric of much modern French music. His progress as a composer, so his compatriots tell us, is a steady march towards a big and solid simplicity, to the staid sobriety of the classic tonality, quite unlike the mere semblance of simplicity which some composers lend their music. British audiences have had chances of hearing that for themselves: we know a good many sides of his work by now, his Symphonic Psalm King David, the orchestral suite made from it, the two vigorous orchestral pieces, Pacific 231 and Rugby, the tender symphonic poem Pastorale d'Eté, the Concertino for pianoforte and orchestra, and the violoncello concerto, both of which have been played in the Proms. His Song of Joy, too, has been broadcast from the B.B.C.'s Manchester
A composer of tireless industry, he has produced much new music since then, including a light opera as well as this symphony. Published only in 1930, it is dedicated to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and its Conductor, Serge Koussevitzky , and it has been played by them as well as in Pans.
There are only three movements, instead of the traditional four-a bold and virile allegro, rich in striking themes, an adagio with more than one long-drawn melody, and a swiftly rhythmic last movement which comes to an end softly and tranquilly.
With Ansermet conducting it, listeners will hoar it played with a full realization of its composer's aims : he and Honegger are bound by ties of personal as well as artistio comradeship, and they are fellow countrymen.