' Jewels from Elfland,' by Margaret Madeley
Songs by DAPHNE HICKMAN (Soprano)
FREDERICK BYE (Violoncello)
' Dug from the Earth-Mining in ancient times,' by 0. Bolton King
THE BIRMINGHAM' STUDIO ORCHESTRA
Conducted by FRANK CANTELL Selection of Melodies from the works of Moussorgsky
Sir Henry Wood and his Symphony Orchestra
Tatiana Makushina (Soprano)
Walter Glynne (Tenor)
Relayed from the Queen's Hall
The March, written as a tribute to one King William of Prussia when he became German Emperor, begins with a theme for a national song hailing the monarch, and goes on to a phrase from the chorale 'Ein feste Burg' ('A sure stronghold our God is still'). Another theme, in graceful style, appears, and then these are worked up in the manner of a sonata movement.
The full verse of the national hymn is given out at the end, Tristan, a Cornish Knight of royal birth, has fought successfully in Ireland on behalf of his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall. He brings Isolda, an Irish princess, as an unwilling bride for the King, but discovers that he himself loves Isolda. They hide their love, and her marriage with the King is carried out. But the lovers can not he denied. During one of their secret meetings the King surprises them, and one of his followers stabs Tristan, who will not defend himself.
The prelude to the last Act expresses the anguish of the Knight, who lies dying, and his yearning for Isolda. We hear also the sad song of the shepherd playing upon his pipe - surely the most plaintive melody in all music.
Brunnhilde, daughter of the gods, contemplates the body of Siegfried, killed by his enemies. She orders a funeral pyre to be prepared. Before it she declaims his virtues and traces the eternal purpose beneath the dark events that led up to his death. She draws from Siegfried's finger the Ring, made from the Rhine Gold, which has brought upon them all the curse. She puts it on her own finger, and turns to the pyre, upon which Siegfried's body now lies. She takes a torch from one of the men-at-arms and casts it upon the pile, which flares up. Then she mounts her steed and, with the cry, 'Siegfried, Siegfried, Brunnhilde greets thee in bliss,' leaps into the fire.
The flames burst forth, the onlookers shrink back in terror. The hall is alight. All is destroyed. The Rhine overflows. The Rhine-maidens appear in the waves, and regain the Ring. The Rhine sinks back into its bed. In the glowing sky is seen Valhalla, the abode of the gods - also in flames. The gods themselves perish, and the curtain falls.