This is the incidental music to a Finnish drama called Kuolema, or in English, Death. The stage picture it accompanies is of a dying woman to whom music and dancers appear in a vision. She joins them, sinks back exhausted, joins them again and dances wildly until at the height of the ghostly dance a knocking is heard and Death is seen standing at the open door.
The Golden Toy, which had a long run at the Coliseum not long ago, was remarkable in at least one sense, for the whole of the music was taken from compositions of Robert Schumann. This legitimate plagiarism was, in this case, entirely successful, as indeed it was-at any rate from a popular point of view—with the evergreen Lilac Time, the musical play which, based on the life of Schubert, was set to Schubert's music throughout.
At the same time, this kind of adaptation is not always successful, for one remembers that Tchaikovsky, Chopin, and even the theatrical Offenbach have been drawn upon in a similar way. None of these three examples, not to speak of others, was really successful. It may be that the theatre is exacting in this respect, for symphonic music adapted to pure ballet lias had its very striking successes, for instance, the symphonies of Tchaikovsky and Brahms in the repertory of the Russian Bal'et company now appearing at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
The Mikado is probably the most popular of all Sullivan's operas. The characters are so happily contrasted, offering splendid scope for whimsical fun and for finely lyrical tunes, that Sullivan had one of his very best chances here. The music, even apart from the tale, is all delightful, whether it be the sentimental airs for the soprano or the tenor, or the Lord High Executioner's whimsical songs, or the Mikado's grim humour.
In its original form, based on Victor Hugo 's Le roi s'amuse, Rigoletto was banned by the authorities as being politically dangerous. The wicked king had to become a mere duke, and various other changes, consequent on that, had to be carried out in the text before the opera was allowed to be performed. It is so universal a favourite that listeners can need but little reminder of the popular airs from it which help to make up a selection.
There are more than 5 million programme listings in Genome. This is a
historical record of the planned output and the BBC services of any
given time. It should be viewed in this context and with the
understanding that it reflects the attitudes and standards of its time
- not those of today.
Genome is a digitised version of the Radio Times from 1923 to 2009 and
is made available for internal research purposes only. You will need to
obtain the relevant third party permissions for any use, including use in
programmes, online etc.
This internal version of Genome, which includes all the magazine covers,
images and articles as well as the programme listings from the Radio
Times, is different to the version of BBC Genome that is available
externally/to the public. It is only available inside the BBC network.