Leader, Alfred Barker
Conducted by Arnold Perry
Of the three rhapsodies that make up this programme, two — the ' Irish ' and the ' Welsh '-are brilliant fantasias on national airs, both, as it happens, by composers best known for their work in the field of light opera. The Irish-American Victor Herbert , a grandson of Samuel Lover , in addition to some thirty-five operettas, also produced a couple of grand operas, two cello concertos, and various symphonic compositions ; the orchestral works of Sir Edward German are as well known as Merrie England and Tom Jones. Both the Herbert and the German works are exceedingly effective dressings-up of folk tunes.
Butterworth's ' A Shropshire Lad ' is quite a different type of rhapsody: poetic rather than brilliant, and based on material of the composer's own. Butterworth here broods over snatches of melody from his two sets of ' Shropshire Lad' songs to which the rhapsody is a sort of orchestral epilogue. The predominant mood is that of Housman's poem:
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough.
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