Relayed from the National Museum of Wales
National Orchestra of Wales
(Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
Frederick Delius, recently honoured by His Majesty, has lived for some years in France, aloof from the busy world of concert and theatre, hearing even his own music mainly by wireless. This, one of the best-known of his orchestral pieces, is a very good example of the way in which he delights to present a musical picture, rather soft and vague in outline but easily recognizable for all that. With only woodwinds and horns added to the usual string instruments, it begins with three introductory bars and then the first melody is heard. Played by the strings, with an undulating movement, it has little bits of tune from the woodwind welded with it at one point. The next tune, which has a more important part in the work, grows in a very natural way out of the first, although, so the composer has told us, it is really a Norwegian folk-song. So far, no actual call of the Cuckoo has made its way into the music, except in slight suggestions, but here a real bird call is plainly heard, played by the clarinet. So the music goes on its way, to end with a repetition of the opening tune.