Relayed from the Assembly Room, City Hall
The series of Symphony Concerts on Thursdays in the Assembly Room, City Hall, began on April 12, 1928. The first season was a six-weeks one, with a Symphony Concert and a Popular Concert each week. The second season was for twelve weeks, as will be the present season. A definite plan is pursued in the Symphony Concerts. A Classical Symphony Concert is succeeded by a Modern Symphony Concert; then comes a Popular Symphony Concert, and following this a concert in which are given (a) a modern symphony, (b) a new or rarely-played concerto, (c) a little-known orchestral work. The second half of the programme is generally of a lighter nature.
The Orchestra has been named the National Orchestra of Wales, and this name is no idle one; children's classes are being formed for instrumental practice in districts in Wales where hitherto choral music was the only ambition and achievement.
National Orchestra of Wales
(Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
Leader, Albert Voorsanger
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite
In its English title the 'Academic Festival Overture' is apt to sound somewhat stern, but a more exact rendering of its name would be 'Overture for a University Merrymaking.' It was expressly composed for the occasion on which the University of Breslau conferred upon Brahms the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and was performed then and there, for the first time, under Brahms's own direction. It is built up on four of the best-known German student, songs, the last of them being the 'Gaudeamus Igitur,' which students the world over regard as one of the best of all the songs of youth.
Francis Russell (Tenor) and Orchestra
Like others of the world's famous Concertos for solo instruments, this was composed specially for a distinguished performer-Franz Clement, who enjoyed the reputation in his own day of being one of the foremost living virtuosi. Tradition has it that parts were not ready in time for the work to be rehearsed before the first performance, and that Clement played it at eight, a feat somewhat more remarkable in those days than it would be considered now. That was in December, 1806, at a concert given by Clement himself in the Theater an der Wien. The work, when published, however, was dedicated, not to him, but to Beethoven's friend von Breuning, and an arrangement of it for pianoforte, with a cadenza and an obbligato for drum, which Beethoven himself made, was dedicated to Frau von Breuning. Popular alike with violinists and with audiences, the work is always quoted to students as the very ideal of what a Concerto ought to be; it is, indeed, the great Beethoven at his very best.
The first movement begins with four drum beats, and then the oboe, clarinet, and bassoon play the principal theme. In the same way the second subject, when it appears, is heralded by four drum taps, this time on the dominant instead of on the tonic as at first. This 'four-fold' repetition of one note is strikingly used throughout the movement.
After the orchestra has played both first and second subjects, the soloist has his first innings, playing both not only in their simple form, but with elaborations. The movement is worked out in perfectly orthodox form, and is too clear and straightforward to need any further analysis, but listeners will note what beautiful use is made of the theme, which is made up of a brief ascending scale with a falling fourth at the end of it.
The slow movement is in the nature of a romance, in which the orchestra has for the most part the themes, two in number, while the soloist weaves embroideries about them. The movement is short, and at the end there is a cadenza leading, straight into the joyous bustling Rondo. The violins of the orchestra carry it on after the solo opening, and then the soloist takes it up again. There is another theme of a more plaintive character, in which both the soloist and orchestra have large shares in the course of the movement; it forms a dialogue at one place between the solo violin and the flute, and it furnishes the subject of the beautiful passage which brings the movement to an end.
A Series of Popular Items
with Kenneth Ellis (Bass)
(9.55 Local Announcements)