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Relayed from the Castle Theatre, Caerphilly.
Megan Thomas (Soprano), Arthur Fear (Baritone)
The Choir of the Caerphilly Choral Society
Conducted by Edgar J. Reynolds
National Orchestra of Wales
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite

The theme of Wagner's opera is the conflict between the higher life and the sensual side of man's nature, and the Overture is an epitome of the hero's temptation and salvation. First is heard the solemn statement of the Pilgrim's Song, accompanied by the throbbing 'pulses of life that leap for joy in this song of salvation', as Wagner put it.
The procession approaches and passes. Evening comes on, and the enchanting sound of music from the Hill of Venus is heard. The theme curves upward and the dances of the Queen of Love's attendants ensue. Tannhauser enters, and drawn by the seductive influences, sings his Love Song-a bold, exultant, leaping theme. The allurements enfold him, and Venus herself appears. Tannhauser hymns her again, and the music grows ever wilder as his senses become intoxicated. Finally the mists clear away, the evil influences depart, and the song of the pilgrims rises triumphant.

In this stately processional music (well-known as a piano solo in the arrangement made by Liszt) the ladies and knights at the court of Thuringia sing their greeting to the Hall of Song where the aristocratic minstrels of the land are about to engage in a friendly singing contest.

There is no need to enter into a description of Longfellow's famous poem, with its literary landmarks:-
The skipper he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he,
and, when retribution falls:-
Like a vessel of glass she stove and sank:
Ho! Ho! the breakers roared.
Hamish MacCunn's musical setting is appropriately storm-ridden, and none can fail to appreciate either its dramatic or its pathetic moments. The Cantata was produced with pictorial effects at the London Coliseum in 1905.


Megan Thomas
Arthur Fear
The Choir of the Caerphilly Choral Society
Choir conducted by:
Edgar J. Reynolds
National Orchestra of Wales
Orchestra conducted by:
Warwick Braithwaite

5WA Cardiff

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About this data

This data is drawn from the Radio Times magazine between 1923 and 2009. It shows what was scheduled to be broadcast, meaning it was subject to change and may not be accurate. More