The Wireless Orchestra, conducted by John Ansell.
Kate Winter (Soprano).
Edward Isaacs (Pianoforte)
Handel's oratorio Theodora, although it contains, as he himself maintained, some of his finest work, has never been popular.
One Air alone has remained popular - the one we are now to hear, 'Angela ever bright and fair, take, oh take me to your care.'
The background of the scene is this: Theodora, a Christian, has been ordered by the pagan Governor of Antioch to join in a sacrifice to Venus. She refuses, and in the Recitative that precedes this Air she begs her guards to lead her to the rack or the flames rather than to such profanation of her faith.
Schumann, in reviewing Mendelssohn's Preludes and Fugues, said something to the effect that 'that fugue is best which sounds like a waltz of Strauss.' He meant that science for which a fugue gives great scope, should never be obtruded - that a fugue should always sound spontaneous and free. These fugues of Mendelssohn are good examples, judged from that standpoint, and the skill in them is notable.
The Prelude to the E Minor Fugue (the two form No. 1 of Op. 35) is a swirl of arpeggio waters around a tune. Into the Fugue towards the end, after a fine climax has been reached, comes an unexpected visitor- a chorale, or hymn tune, which gives way finally to a reminiscence of the fugal treatment, and to a sweet and gentle closing passage.
About thirty years ago Sir Edward Elgar spent a holiday in Bavaria, and gave expression to his memories of that pleasant time in a Suite for Chorus and Orchestra, which he called From the Bavarian Highlands. Later he made an orchestral arrangement of three Dances from the Suite.
The First is just a gay Dance. The Second is a Lullaby. The Third is called The Marksmen, and shows us a lively scene of a village shooting-match.
Though the music for Shakespeare's Tempest was written in Sullivan's student days, it was only in 1903, after his death, that it was heard in connection with performances of the play, at the Court Theatre.