The Station Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Lewis
Third 'Leonora' Overture
Beethoven wrote at various times four different Overtures to his one Opera, Fidelio (at first called Leonora). The present one is generally reckoned the greatest.
Leonora No. 3 is a very long Overture, fully developed on symphonic lines - too extended for use as a theatre Overture, perhaps, but a magnificent concert piece. There is a short slow Introduction, and then the vigorous main body of the Overture begins. There are two chief tunes - the very soft and mysteriously opening one, and a succeeding smoothly-flowing one.
Note the dramatically interrupting Trumpet call in the middle of the Overture (generally performed, in the concert room, by a player out of sight, behind the Orchestra); this represents the crucial moment in the play, when the Minister of State appears - just in time to save the hero from execution.
EMILY BROUGHTON (Soprano), GEOFFREY Dams (Tenor), JAMES HOWELL (Bass)
Terzetto, 'Lochnagar' (Byron)
An enterprising Scotsman, George Thomson, being anxious to popularise old songs of his native country, had got two then popular Composers, Pleyel and Kozeluch, to write Sonatas using some of these melodies as themes, and persuaded Haydn to write accompaniments for other of the songs. He asked Beethoven for some Sonatas, but the Composer wanted a price that the publisher thought too high, so the Sonatas were not forthcoming. A little later, after Haydn's death, Thomson got Beethoven to continue the work of writing accompaniments and prefatory passages for the Scots songs, and also for some Irish and Welsh ones. The accompaniments provided were for Pianoforte, Violin and 'Cello.
This afternoon we are to enjoy the rare opportunity of hearing a good selection of these interesting settings by Beethoven.
ALICE VAUGHAN (Contralto)
O Might I but My Patrick Love
GEOFFREY DAMS and JAMES HOWELL
Duet, 'The Chase of the Wolf' (from 'Arrangements of National Airs for Voices, Pianoforte, and Strings)
NIGEL DALLAWAY (Pianoforte) and ORCHESTRA
Fourth Concerto (in G)
A HUNDRED and nineteen years have passed since Beethoven's Fourth Concerto was first heard, at a concert which must have been a memorable evening for the audience, for besides this work they heard, for the first time, the Choral Fantasia and the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies - a a well-filled programme indeed!
The work contains several striking and individual ideas, which are noted below.
FIRST MOVEMENT. The first new thing is that instead of beginning with the usual burst of Full Orchestra (a plan he had followed in his three earlier Concertos), Beethoven lets the Soloist announce the First Main Tune. Besides this there are several other leading tunes, the Second Main one being given to Violins (a minor key melody in 'arpeggio' steps), and two or three others being brought in. During the middle part of the Movement (the 'development') the Pianoforte plays decorative passages while the Orchestra deals chiefly with the First Tune. The themes are duly recapitulated, and in a Coda the Orchestra and Pianoforte say farewell to the First Tune.
The SECOND MOVEMENT provides another of the work's points of rarity and interest. It is very short and consists of a lovely dialogue between Orchestra and Pianoforte, tho former stating an emphatic, almost imperious Tune, and tho latter replying in smooth, quiet, thoughtful passages, as if sweetly reasoning with the other's impatience. This short interlude between the First and Last Movements is one of the most poetic and impressive pieces in all Beethoven's works.
THIRD MOVEMENT. This, the Composer directed, was to follow closely on the Slow Movement. It is a sprightly Rondo, clearly and cleanly built, with its recurring First Tune, started by the Strings and at once varied by the Pianoforte, and its smooth, two-part Second Tune, which the Soloist suavely puts forth. The Movement runs its course with the smiling good humour of a fanciful, happy fellow, who is feeling particularly well pleased with the world.
The Enchantress's Farewell
Bonnie Laddie, Highland Laddie
Emily BROUGHTON, GEOFFREY DAMS, JAMES HOWELL
Terzetto, 'Duncan Gray'
Finale from Fifth Symphony, in C Minor