(Sixth Season, 1931-32)
THE B.BC. ORCHESTRA
Conducted by NIKOLAI MALKO
A LTHOUGH naturally at home in a very special way in the music of his own countrymen, and especially the present-day representatives of Russian music, Nikolai Maiko is no narrow-minded specialist. Listeners cannot have forgotten the impression he made when he conducted the B.B.C. Orchestra in March, 1929, on his first visit to London. Trained in the school of Felix Mottl , ho has all those magnetic qualities of command over his forces which a great conductor must possess, and in Vienna and other parts of Europe where he has appeared, his forceful energy and thoughtful insight into his music have impressed the critics profoundly. He is Director of the State Academy of Music, and Professor at the Leningrad Conservatoire.
BORN in 1905, Shostakovitch is one of the most brilliant young members of the so-called
Leningrad group, musical descendants of the school of Rimsky-Korsakov. He already has a second symphony to his credit, as well as other orchestral and chamber music, and an opera founded on Gogol's story, 'The Nose.' And it may commend him to dance-tune enthusiasts to learn that he has made a clever orchestration of Tea for two, which he calls Tahiti Trot. This Symphony has the four movements of tradition-an Allegretto heralded by a slower Introduction; a Scherzo with its Trio ; a Lento beginning with an oboe solo, with a melody afterwards played by solo violin; and a vivid and dramatic Finale. Like the first movement, the last begins with an introduction, which follows the third movement without a break. A drum roll connects the two. The score includes a pianoforte as well as the usual full modern concert orchestra.
BORN at Kiev in 1900, Aloxandre Mossolov was educated at the School of the Society of Pedagogues in Moscow, finishing his studios there in 1917. For the next three years he served with the Red Army, making his first essays in composition only at the end of that term. Strongly influenced for a time by Scriabin's ideals, he developed his own style so quickly that now his compatriots are talking, not of his imitations, but of his imitators. But however individual may be the method which he has evolved for himself, he writes for the orchestra with a very sound knowledge of the character of the different instruments. A robust joie de vivre, a wholesome realism, and a healthy humour reveal themselves in the works he has already produced, as well as a real understanding of the spirit of folk lore.
Listeners who recall his brilliant musical picture of a factory at work may recognize in this concerto something of the same mastery of orchestral effect and the same boldness in the themes, but otherwise the two works have but little in common. The concerto begins with a fairly long, slow introduction, sombre in its mood ; it leads, through a cadenza for the soloist, straight into an Allegro in 68 measure, capricious and exhilarating. That is followed by a new Lento, which gradually gathers speed to reach another allegro, powerful and strongly rhythmic. The second movement is in effect a theme with variations—tema con concertini the composer calls it-wayward, merry, and elegiac by turns, with a short waltz among them. The soloist has a brilliant cadenza before the end. The last movement is a Toccata, and in it, too, much of the effect is made by strong, insistent rhythms, and by swift changes between loud and soft tone.
WLADIMIR VOGEL is counted as one of the representatives of today's German music, though ho was born in Moscow and his mother was Russian. And it was largely Scriabin's friendship and influence that made a composer of him. Since the War—he was interned for three years of it in a civilian camp in Russia-he has made Berlin his home, and for some years enjoyed the inspiration-no humbler word will do—of Busoni's guidance. He was a pupil, and afterwards assistant, of that great man and musician. Several of Vogel's own works have been performed at Festivals abroad, and last year the Jury of the International Society for Contemporary Music chose these Studies to represent Germany in one of the concerts of the Festival in England. They were played in the Queen's Hall, London, with Hermann Scherchen conducting, and made a great impression.