Leader, PHILIP WHITEWAY
Conductor, E. GODFREY BROWN
ANNE GREGORY (soprano)
Aristophanes' play, The Wasps, turns on a quarrel between a father and son, and the Wasps of the title form the chorus. The name suggests the sting in the comments that they make on the action, after the traditional manner of a Greek chorus. In Vaughan Williams 's music, written specially for a production of the play at Cambridge in 1909, their buzzing is vividly suggested.
Most of the melodies are old Greek modal tunes, which the characters sing in the course of the play, and the last ones are taken from a point near the end where the father and son become reconciled.
Haydn wrote twelve symphonies in all for Salomon, the impresario who brought him to London—six on the first visit in 1791 and six on the second in 1794. They are acknowledged to be the finest of all Haydn's hundred odd symphonies, and it is pleasant to reflect that London's hospitality was the occasion, if not, of course, actually the cause, of Haydn's surpassing himself. It is fairly certain that no part of the symphonies could have been written elsewhere than in England. Between the making of the contract and his arrival in London there would have been no time, so that Haydn must have been busy between his arrival on January I and the first concert on March II.
Dvorak, as'was natural, had an intense affection for the folk tunes and native idioms of his country. Much of his music is influenced by them, and the many Slavonic Dances and Rhapsodies he wrote are, of course, based on them. The Dances were written originally for piano duet, a common form in those days, but afterwards scored for orchestra, in the highly-coloured, luxuriant manner that the fiery rhythms and piquant melodies call for.