THE BIRMINGHAM STUDIO AUGMENTED ORCHESTRA, conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS
IN 1830, the tercentenary year of the Augsburg Protestant Confession, it was proposed to hold a general celebration throughout the Protestant States of Germany. The scheme was dropped, after Mendelssohn had specially written this Symphony as a contribution to it.
Written for a church celebration, the Symphony makes many a quotation of church music. The opening notes are a medieval melody which was used by Bach and Mozart. Later in the introductory section occurs another ancient melody. stridently sounded, and this is immediately followed by the 'Dresden Amen' (which Wagner also adopted as one of the principal themes in his Parsifal). This opening section of the music may be said to stand for the older church.
To this follows an outburst of quick music that seems to suggest anger.
The next Movement is lyrical, with a hint of pastoral delight. It is cast in the common form and three-beat rhythm of 'Scherzo and Trio.'
A pathetic little tune, in a minor key, opens the next Movement. Presently the famous Lutheran hymn Ein feste Burg ('A safe strong-hold') enters, the herald of the Reformation. At first it is played by a single Flute ; other instruments join in at the second line, and the rest of the Orchestra enters during the remaining lines.
The next section is a Variation on the hymn tune.
The last Movement is built largely of massive music, into which the Lutheran hymn is woven towards the end, its last lines being given out, at the close, with full power.
FOR the Cardiff Musical Festival of 1904 Edward German wrote this Rhapsody upon Welsh airs. It is woven without seam, but has four pretty definite sections, a little like those of a Symphony, and each of them grows out of . some famous old Welsh melody or melodies.
The FIRST (a stately one) is based on 'Loudly Proclaim.'
The SECOND (a skittish one) is made out of 'Hunting the Hare' and 'The Bells of Aberdovey.'
The THIRD (a tender one) brings in 'David of the White Rock.'
The FOURTH (a march-like Finale) uses the famous 'Men of Harlech.'
,THE BIRMINGHAM STUDIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Conducted by PERCY PITT
FLORENCE HOLDING (Soprano) LESLIE ENGLAND (Pianoforte)
THIS is. perhaps, the most popular of Griegs' larger works.
FIRST MOVEMENT (Moderately quick).-After a preliminary flourish on the Piano, the First Main Tune is at once given out. It consists chiefly of a little curt phrase in Woodwind, and a more suave phrasewhich is nt first given to Clarinet and Bassoon. and then repeated at great length. This whole (fairly long) Tune is repeated on the Piano. Then follows a longish passage of rapid work for the Piano and Strings and Woodwind. At the end of this there is something of a climaxand then comes the beautiful Second Main Tune.
SECOND MOVEMENT (Slow).—This opens with a long Tune given to Muted Strings. At the end of this the Piano enters with a long, rhapsodical passage. Eventually. Flute and Clarinet quietly suggest the Tune with which the Movement opened which the Piano then declaims at full length.
THIRD MOVEMENT(Quick and emphatic).-
A few soft. detached chords in the Orchestra. a very loud Piano flourish. and one loud chord (Full Orchestra), and we are plunged into a lively Dance. The Dance is interrupted for a time, whilst we hear, as it were in the distance, a song. The Dance soon returns and, at the end, the song-tune is declaimed loudly _by piano and orchestra.
THE WIRELESS MILITARY BAND, conducted by B. WALTON O'DONNELL
NORMAN VENNER (Baritone)
THE plot of the Opera Euryanthe was made out of a thirteenth-century tale of knightly doings, full also of ghosts, fairies and such-like legendary folk. The work did not hold the stage; its libretto was too silly, even for those days. But the Overture found and retained a place on the concert platform. In it, Weber strikes the notes of chivalry and mystery. According to his characteristic plan, it contains fragments of the Opera's leading airs.
Relayed from THE WINTER
No. 30 of the Thirty-third
THE BOURNEMOUTH MUNICIPAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Conducted by SIR DAN GODFREY
THIS colossal work was
Schubert's last Symphony. It was quite beyond the powers of the Viennese orchestra of his day, and never, in fact, got beyond rehearsal in his lifetime.
It has four Movements : (1) Slow, leading to
Fairly quick; (2) Rather slow, song-like; (3) Scherzo; (4) Quick and lively.
IN 1820, when Schubert was about twenty-three, he wrote a Fantasia for Pianoforte on his song The Wanderer, using little of the actual song melody (and that chiefly in the slow movement), but treating, in a work after the sonata style, the general idea of the Wanderer poem-that of the traveller who ever seeks a home, and finds none.
Liszt, many years later, took up Schubert's work and made it into a piece for Pianoforte and Orchestra, freely elaborating the Pianoforte part, but not glorifying the instrument into the position of a mere showy soloist, supported by its faithful, retiring servitors in the orchestra.
The music falls into four linked sections, played without break : the first quick and fiery, the second slow (this begins with an extract from the Wanderer song), the third practically a Scherzo, and the fourth a strongly-pulsing section largely in fugal style.
ERIC FOGG was born on February 21, 1903, in Manchester. At the ago of nine ho entered Manchester Cathedral, where ho remained for five years as a choristor. The following two years he spent as organist at St. John's Church, Doansgate, Manchester, after which, he took lessons in orchestration and composition from, Granville Bantock in Birmingham. For the last four years he has hold the po?t of accompanist at the Manchester Station of the B.B.C. He has written two Ballets, many orchestral and chamber works, a Choral Ballad, ' The Hillside,' and many songs, part-songs, and other pieces.
The present work was sketched during the summer of 1926 and completed the following spring. The music opens softly with the Strings giving out the first main tune. and continues thus for a short time until a rhythmic utterance from the trumpet gives way to a turbulent passage for full orchestra. Gradually the music becomes tranquil again and we hear a recurrence of the main theme, which is developed a little in connection with the trumpet call. Once again all is cairn. and we are prepared for tho second main tune a langaorous melody given out by the Violoncellos, which is eventually worked up to a passionate climax by the full orchestra. The time changes, and the music strongly surges on until the climax of tho work is reached.
Relayed from St. Martin's Parish Church,
... Industrial Sunday
Hymn, ' Once to every man and nation ' (Songs of Praise, No. 178)
'Hymn, '0 God of Earth and Altar' (Songs of Praise. No. 177)
' When through the whirl of wheels, and engines humming,
Patiently powerful for the sons of men,
Peals like a trumpet promise of His coming
Who in the clouds is pledged to come again :
'When through the night of furnace fires flaring.
Shooting out tongues of flame like leaping blood,
Speak to the heart of Love, alive and daring.
Sing of the boundless energy of God.
' When in the depths the patient miner striving
Feels in his arms the vigour of the Lord,
Strikes for a kingdom and his King's arriving.
Holding his pick more splendid than the sword ;
' When on the sweat of labour and its sorrow,
Toiling in the twilight flickering and dim,
Flames out the sunshine of the great tomorrow,
When all the world looks up because of Him—
' Then will He come with meekness for His glory,
God in a workman's jacket as before,
Living again the eternal Gospel story,
Sweeping the shavings from His workshop floor.'
ADDRESS by the Rev. Canon T. Guy ROGERS
Hymn, ' Mine eyes have seen the glory ' (Songs of Praise, No. 304)
THE BIRMINGHAM MILITARY BAND, conducted by W. A. CLARKE
THE plot of the Opera Euryanthe was made out of a thirteenth-century tale of knightly doings, full also of ghosts, fairies and such-like legendary folk. The work did not hold the stage; its libretto was too silly, even for those days. But the Overture found and retained a place on the concert platform. In it, Weber strikes the notes of chivalry and mystery. According to his characteristic plan, it contains fragments of leading airs from the Opera.
THE Finale actually grows, in the most exciting
, way, out of a mysterious whispered passage at the end of the Third Movement, the Scherzo. This passage gradually leads'into the blaze of the triumphal Finale, a psean that sustains the note of exultation from beginning to end, except for a moment when Beethoven brings in a few bars-a ghost, as it were-of the Scherzo.
Relayed from the Royal Opera House,
Conductor, CHARLES LAUWERS
IN the second Act of Bizet's Carmen we witness the throw of fate which first casts the net of tragedy about the two chief actors. When the curtain rises tho stage is possessed by Carmen herself. A warm-blooded, tempestuous, fascinating, dangerous gipsy beauty, she is a cigar-maker by day, a confederate of smugglers when she chooses. Just now she is having a gay evening among. her lawless friends at an inn just outside Seville. Presently she is to meet her new lover, Don Jose , a young soldier who, to get her out of a scrape. cheerfully went to prison wearing her rose beneath his tunic. As the appointed time approaches, in comes a handsome Toreador, who makes a song of his bravo deeds. No need to say what song this is; but it is new to Carmen, and surges in her head like a fiery wine. This dashing, proud fellow, the idol of the crowd. ... She is less pleased now at having to wait for her chivalrous friend from the barracks. Still, she waits. while the smugglers, after sineing a gay quintet, depart. T h en Don Jos6 arrives, melodious, at the inn, and Carmen dancos to him, singing a wild melody and punctuating her steps with thA castanets.
Slowly, sadly, Don Jos é draws the crushed flower from his breast and sings the famous ' Flower Song,' a declaration of passionate, imperishable love. Carmen answers: Then come with me, over the hills and far away' (in a tuneful duet, of beguilement and despairing resistance.) He almost yields, but duty holds him, and he is at the point of leaving her for ever, when a loud knock is heard at the door and in strides one of Don Jose 's officers, with a confident, amorous glance upon Carmen. Jealousy inflames the distracted Don Jose. He draws upon his officer, and from that mad moment he is a destroyed man. The smugglers rush in and seize the fighting pair, and the Act is at on end.
In the third Act Don Jos6 is a smuggler and Carmen's gloomy lover, while she does not disguise her preference for the dashing Toreador. In the fourth Act Don Jos6 kills her.
The Music of the Shires of Gloucester, Worcester, Salop and Somerset
S.B. from Cardiff
The Valley of the Severn, within a radius of thirty miles of the City of Gloucester, holds a unique position in this country's history, in that it has been the birth-place of many of the great English Musicians of the twentieth century. We may cite the following names - Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Hubert Parry, Sir Herbert Brewer, Dr. Basil Harwood, Gustav Holst, Vaughan Williams, Herbert Howells, nor must we forget the great musical historian, Sir Henry Hadow.
The National Orchestra of Wales
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite
Europe is Dead! Long Live The European!
The English Version by Susan Behn and Cecil Lewis
The action takes place at the Castle Orloff on a lake near Salzburg, in Austria. The entrance-hall of the castle is beautiful, distinguished. Folding doors lead to the garden; a long window overlooks the park. It is an evening in June.....
Listeners who heard Rampa would immediately identify without being informed the author of Improvisations in June.
Here is the same bitter contempt for contemporary human values, the same characterisation, the same careful creation of an atmosphere in which the real seems to be the vision of a lunatic, and the ideal a reasonable commonplace.
Zappe the 'Improvizator' - Âengaged with his beautiful daughter to cure the heir to a financial throne of his delusion that there must be something money cannot buy - is employed by the dramatist to hold the mirror up to an age of motley materialism.
THE BIRMINGHAM STUDIO AUGMENTED
(Leader, FRANK CANTELL)
Conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS
A T twenty-eight, when he wrote this Overture, Sullivan had already achieved a fine command both of the Orchestra and of that i knack of writing gay tunes that has so endeared him to us all. He wrote few pieces more spirited than this, even in the Comic Operas-and that is saying a good deal.
After a short Introduction, there begins a very rhythmical leaping dance-tune (started by the First Violins--chief accompaniment, Horns). This tune holds sway for some time, being given to most instruments in turn, including Flute and Piccolo. Later, there follow several waltz-tunes. Towards the end, the dancers break into a Galop.
THIS Concerto (really Beethoven's second, in order of composition) was written when the composer was about twenty-eight, and is full of life and grace.
FIRST MOVEMENT. As was usual then in the Concerto, the Orchestra alone, in the opening bars, first presents the chief themes. These are soon taken up by the pianoforte, which deals brilliantly with them. Near the end there is a pause for the ' cadenza,' when the piano goes off on an adventure of its own. Beethoven wrote three cadenzas to this Movement, the last of which is one of the finest examples we have of this kind of pianoforte oratory.
The SLOW MOVEMENT is based on an expressive melody which the solo instrument richly decorates. The Clarinet has a particularly beautiful and important part to play.
The LAST MOVEMENT is the usual Rondo, the phrases of its first main tune delightfully extended beyond the usual four-bar length, in a fashion that reminds us of Haydn.
The contrasting second tune comes in on the First Violins and Oboes, and (after a return of the original melody) a third appears on the piano (the left hand leaping spiritedly up and down), accompanied by a brief conversation between Flutes and Bassoons. There are three little cadenzas in this Movement, before the orchestra steps in and has the last word.
IN this group we have two of the happiest pieces of fairy music. The Scherzo is
Mendelssohn's prelude to the second act of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It conjures up for us the pranksome Puck and the dainty train of fairies, whom in this Act their Queen sends about their duties.
The Nocturne is called for by Titania to lull to sleep the poor, weary mortals, victims of the fairies' tricks.
The Sixth of the Series of Twelve Great Plays is 'Shakuntala,' or The Lost Ring An Indian Drama, translated into English prose and verse from the Sanskrit of Kalidasa, by Sir Monier Monier-Williams, K.C.I.E.
The Play will be broadcast from 5GB tonight at 8.0, and from London and Daventry on Wednesday night. The programme and a special article on the Play will be found on pages 338 and 339.
An Introduction to the Play by Vishnu Karandikar.
This poetic drama, written nearly fifteen hundred years ago by Kalidasa, represents India in the series of Great Plays. Shakuntala will be broadcast from 5GB on Monday, and from other Stations on Wednesday.
The story of an innocent maiden, dazzled by the glamour and polish of court life, taken advantage of and forsaken by the sophisticated cavalier, is perhaps as old as civilization itself. But, accepting the date given to Kalidasa by Western scholars, the story of Shakuntala, the girl of the hermitage, round whom Kalidasa wove his beautiful drama about 1,400 years ago, would charm even the most up-to-date flapper from the joyland of jazz. The story is simple - Dushyanta, the worldly-wise King, surfeited with the luxury of the palace and the company of the glittering beauties of his court, leaves his capital for a while and goes a-hunting. He comes across a group of young innocent girls from a famous hermitage, and the unpolished beauty, the natural charm, and the engaging innocence of the orphan girl Shakuntala attracts him. The girl is impressed by the courtly manners of the King and succumbs to his charms, after he had told her that they were married according to the Gandharva form of marriage based on free choice, then held legal under Hindu law. The King in due course of time leaves her and returns to his palace. The ascetic, Kanva, who has brought Shakuntala up ever since she was found as a baby in the forest near his hermitage, sends her with a couple of his disciples to King Dushyanta. Just before, a visiting sage had cursed Shakuntala for her neglect and she was unaware of the curse. The ring given by Dushyanta, which alone had the power of bringing back the memory of Shakuntala to his wayward mind, was unfortunately lost on the way to the King's court in a large pond outside the capital. Dushyanta repudiates her, the disciples of Kanva refuse to allow her to go back with them, and she is then miraculously taken away by her mother, who was a celestial dancer at the court of the God of Rain.
Later on, a fisherman is caught with the ring, which he had found in a fish caught in the pond. He is taken to the King, who remembers Shakuntala on seeing the ring, and begins to pine for her. Just then, Indra, the God of Rain, sends his celestial chariot, which can travel through the air, to King Dushyanta, asking him to help in subduing a recalcitrant demon. While returning the King halts on a famous mountain, noted to be the residence of one of the most respected sages of old, and sees a small boy, holding a lion cub in one hand and repelling the attacks of a lioness with a small stick in the other. He dis covers that it is his own son, Shakuntala having given birth to him in the hermitage, where she was placed by her mother. The King had no heir, and the sudden discovery of such a fearless son adds to the joy of his reconciliation with the forest maiden, but now known to be so well connected, with influence even with the King of Gods, Indra.
Anyone familiar with the mentality of the aristocracy of the land, when it comes into touch with the people of the country, would follow King Dushyanta with pleasure and see the subtle art of the poet when he makes the King compare the girls in the hermitage with the ladies of his court: 'The woodland plants outshine the garden flowers!' There is again the same touch of delicate irony when the old lady of the hermitage unconsciously interrupts Dushyanta's passionate wooing of Shakuntala and inquires whether her fever was subsiding. 'I am sprinkling holy water on you,' she naively informs the love-lorn maiden, 'and I am sure you will be all right now.' The dramatic way in which Dushyanta is prevented from kissing Shakuntala on the stage and thus committing an unpardonable scientific error, is also one more example of the varied talent of Kalidasa. Seeing the approach of the old lady, some of Shakuntala's girl friends, who had been keeping watch outside the bower of creepers where Dushyanta and Shakuntala were having their first love scene, cry out a warning and the kiss is not given.
Act four of the Shakuntala drama is perhaps the most moving. The fifth and sixth acts are also full of pathos. Here the art of the author is startlingly evident. The fourth act indicates the sorrow of the people of the hermitage and even that of the trees and the animals and birds at the thought of parting with Shakuntala. The fifth act, where the King spurns Shakuntala, having forgotten her is vividly descriptive of another kind of pathos. If Shakuntala was stirred by the pathetic scenes of the fourth act, she became indignant at the insinuations and jeers of the King's court in the fifth. The dramatic contrast between these two acts is one of the most moving spectacles in Shakuntala. The heroine sheds tears of sympathy in the one, while she is torn with grief and anger in the other.
The distress of Shakuntala and her struggle against all odds, the fighting spirit shown in her vigorous duel of words with the insulting king, all these are woven into the structure of the fifth act. The sixth is the repentance of the King. Kalidasa shows himself to be the master of the art of debate and wonderfully skilful in depicting the varying emotions of different types of people. The sorrowful ascetic Kanva, the indignant Shakuntala, the supremely arrogant King in the fifth act and the repentant sinner in the sixth, all these are shown with an amazingly lively pen. which would reflect credit on the master-writer of modem times.
The fourth act, thus, has been known as the best of all the works of Kalidasa. The trees drop their flowers at the feet of Shakuntala, the birds are weeping, the pet deer are circling round their mistress, the old ascetic feels almost benumbed with grief. He says: 'My sorrow will not disappear with time, oh Shakuntala ; because the trees you have planted round the hermitage will be growing and will always remind me of your sweet childhood.'
'A girl is always brought up as a trust for others,' sighs the sage, 'but she has to be delivered over to her lover when the time comes. If such are the pangs of sorrow to an ascetic living secluded in a hermitage in a forest, I wonder what would be the grief of parents living in towns surrounded by their families.'
In order to make a break between the pathetic and highly emotional fifth and the equally touching scenes of repentance of the sixth act, the author has introduced a little scene of diversion, which, however, vitally develops the plot of the play.
The King's men, as the police were called then, have caught the fisherman with the signet ring of the king, lost by Shakuntala.
Clothed with petty authority, the police were as willing to throw him to the crows and jackals, when they suspected him of crime, as they were eager to make friends with him over a jar of wine, at his expense, when they found that the King was pleased.
That even in hermitages situated on almost inaccessible mountains there should be painted earthen toys for children, indicates the type of civilized society found in India even then. The dramatic touch of the poet is again visible when the boy's attendant calls out 'See this Shakuntalavanya' â€” 'the beauty of the birdâ€™ and the boy, who was engaged in interesting conversation with the King, has heard only the first half of the word and thinking that his, mother had arrived says: 'Oh where is my mother?' Dushyanta thus comes to know that it is his own son, without breaking the usual etiquette by asking about the child's parentage. Little touches like these render a distinctive charm to the masterpiece of Kalidasa.
I would like to give more extracts describing the passionate sorrow of the animate as well as inanimate residents, so graphically painted by Kalidasa. But to those who would care to weep along with Shakuntala's friends I would recommend the translations of the drama which have been published. Shakuntala is one of the precious 'treasures of Indian literature, and its hold on the Indian people is as powerful as it was 1,400 years ago when it was written.
Conducted by E. A. Parsons
John Herbert Foulds, a native of Manchester, began his musical career as a member of the Halle Orchestra. Since leaving it, he has had' considerable experience as conductor and concert organizer, holding such posts as Musical Director at the London Central Y.M.C.A. and conductor of the University of London Musical Society. He has been a prolific composer, though comparatively few of his bigger works are as yet at all well known. The one which has hitherto made the greatest impression is his World Requiem, a choral piece on a very large scale, produced at the Albert Hall on Armistice Day, 1923. He has invented, or at any rate imported into English music, some quite new orchestral effects by the use of quarter tones, ail innovation which presents difficulties no less to the performers than to the hearers. Here, however, he is in lighter vein, almost in holiday mood, turning, as he has more than once done, to Celtic lore for inspiration. In this Suite he does achieve some resemblance to the Celtic Muse, which is as well as anyone may hope to do who is not himself a Gael.
The first Maid of Aries Suite begins with a prelude for which an old folk tune from Provence forms the foundation. There is a slower middle section in which the saxophone and clarinet have a duet.
The second movement is a joyous Minuet, and here again, in the middle section, the saxophone has a fine melody given to it. A very short, slow movement follows, taken from a point in the play where two old lovers meet after being parted for more than half a lifetime.
The fourth movement is a carillon in which the effect of bells is cunningly made by horns, harp, and strings. The tune for three bells persists through most of the movement, but here again there is a middle section of contrasting character, the flutes having the chief share in it.
Overture, The Siren ' - Auber
LEONARD HUNT (Baritone) Pass, Everyman - Sanderson
Shipmates o Mine (Accompanied on the Organ by FRANK NEWMAN) - Sanderson
ORCHESTRA Suite, ' Gaelic Melodies ' The Dream of Morven ; Deirdre crooning: Merry MacDoon - Foulds
Three Bavarian Dances - Elgar
Cavatina - Raff
First Suite, The Maid of Arles ' - Bizet
A PRINCESS OF KENSINGTON, with a libretto by Basil Hood , followed Merrie
England, in which he had also collaborated with German, in 1903. It is a charming fantasy in which a whimsical humour like Gilbert's is blended with something like the fancy of Sir James Barrie , and romance is woven into the fabric of modern London life with a subtle and delicate charm. German's music fits the story in the same happy way that Sullivan's music seems inseparable from Gilbert's inimitable nonsense, and the Opera promised at first to carry on the long series of Savoy successes, with the brightest of hopes for a still further series. And yet, although it was warmly welcomed later too, when the d'Oyly Carte people took it on tour, it has not contrived to hold the stage, and except in the form of such selections as this, is almost never heard.
Conducted by E. A. PARSONS
OFFENBACH'S success as a composer of comic operas of that slight order for which we have no exact equivalent in this country, was almost unique. His industry was also astonishing, and the number of successful works which he produced in his busy life is well-nigh incredible. It was his ambition, however, to write at least one work of a rather serious order, and he was at work on this Tales of Hoffmann when he died. It was completed by Guiraud and produced in Paris in 1881, the year after its composer's death, and was given over a hundred times in that same year. It has ever since been in the repertory in Paris and is regularly played in most countries of Europe, even in our own.
Offenbach's music enjoyed an extraordinary vogue in this country in the latter part of last century, although, to any who knows it at the fountain head it inevitably loses something of its delicate flavour in crossing the Channel. None the less, Tales of Hoffmann bids fair to keep its hold on our affections, and either as a whole opera, or m part, is well known to the ordinary listener.
There is a Prologue in a wine cellar in which his friends twit Hoffmann, the poet, about his many love affairs, and each of the three acts is his recounting of them, always with an evil spirit at his elbow, somewhat after the manner of Mepbistopheles in Faust.
Relayed from the Royal Opera House,
IN the old Norse mythology from which Wagner took the long and involved story of his
Nibelung's Ring, Wotan, the father of the gods, takes the place which the old Greeks assigned to Zeus, and his spouse Fricka is looked to as the guardian of the hearth and home and upholder of the domestic virtues.
The race of Walsungs, Siegmund and Sieglinde,
Wotan's children by an earthly alliance, is thus hateful to her, and in a long duet with Wotan she insists that in the coming fight with Hunding,
Siegmund must have no protection fiom the gods. Wotan would fain shield his son, and trits to make it clear to the wrathful Fricka that through the Walsungs alone can the race of gods be protected ; but Fricka is adamant, and in the end
Wotan must give way. Before that, however, Wotan has met his favourite warrior maiden Briinnhilde and told her to protect Siegmund in the fight. The whole of the music of this first part of the scene is stormy and vivid, like the wild mountain height on which the Valkyr maidens have their home. Then, at the end of the duet with Fricka, Wotan, dejected and forlorn, tells Brünnhilde that now it is Hunding she must shelter and that Sieg. mund must die. He leaves her, and Siegmund and Sieglinde approach-Sieglinde wearied with her long flight from Hunding. She falls fainting, and then there is an impressive moment when Briinnhilde appears to Siegmund and he asks her of his fate and Sieglinde's. Touched by his heroism and the love of the two, Brünnhilde decides to disobey Wotan and to fight for Siegmund.
Hunting's horn is heard, and through the darkness of storm clouds which roll down over the mountain, he and Siegmund meet and do battle, Briinnhilde protecting the Walsung. Wotan appears suddenly, in a glow of light, and holds his spear in front of Hunding's breast as Siegmund is about to slay his enemy. The sword breaks in two, and Hunding stabs the defenceless Siegmund with his spear. Briinnhilde catches up Sieglinde, and, seizing the broken pieces of the sword, flings herself upon her horse and rides away from the wrath of Wotan towards her own rocky fastness.
Like the 'New World' Symphony, this work made its appearance soon after Dvorak's short stay in the United States. He had shown a good deal of interest in the Negro melodies, wondering whether there was not in them the germ of a truly national American music, and the Symphony, this Quartet, and other works, were immediately claimed by the United States as having been inspired by Negro tunes.
Dvorak's follow countrymen resented the suggestion furiously; to them this music was as thoroughly Bohemian as the rest of Dvorak's, and for some years a regular battle was waged. The world has long ago realized that it matters very little what, the origin of the tunes was, being content to enjoy them for their own melodious sake. And in America and in our country this Quartet is always affectionately spoken of as 'The Nigger.' It is certainly Dvorak in his most popular vein, and each of the four movements has its own individual charm, its own strong hold on the affections of string players everywhere, and of all who enjoy the homeliness and comfortable intimacy of the string quartet.
Several of the tunes are in what is called the Pentatonic (five note) scale, the scale which can be played on the black notes of the pianoforte alone.
The first main tune of the first movement is like that, leaving out the fourth and seventh notes of the scale. It is a merry tune with more than a hint of laughter in it. The second chief tune is more sedate. These are set forth in the usual way with development section and a final part in which they are repeated. The slow movement comes next, dreamy and a little sad. It has been spoken of sometimes as embodying the composer's home-sickness in America.
The next is like a Scherzo and Trio in form, the first section merry and mischievous, the second, merely the same tune in a slower and smoother guise.
The last movement skips about from merriment to a thought of sentiment, in a capricious and wayward style, though the movement is really in the usual form with two main tunes.
PATTISON'S SALON ORCHESTRA Directed by NORRIS STANLEY
Relayed from the Cafe Restaurant, Corporation
MICHAEL WILLIAM BALFE , counted as one of our English opera composers, was born in Ireland, where his father was a dancing master. When he was only six he was playing the fiddle for the dancing classes, and a few years later appeared as a solo violinist and as a composer. He had a varied and interesting youth, travelling over many parts of Europe and meeting interesting people in the musical world--Cherubini, Rossini, and other giants of that day-singing in opera, playing, and composing
In 1841 he removed to Paris, where several of his works were produced with real success. It was during his stay there that he composed The Bohemian Girl, the most successful of all his operas, and the only one which maintains its hold on public affection today. He returned to England to produce it here, and the work was auerwards given abroad in German, Italian and French, in different parts of Europe.
From then, until 1864, he was busily engaged as composer and conductor, appearing with success in Berlin, Vienna, St. Petersburg and other famous centres.
In 1864 he retired to the country, and while devoting himself largely to rural pursuits, still continued to compose and to make occasional visits abroad. He died in 1870. In 1882 a tablet to him was unveiled in Westminster Abbey.
(No. XXXIII of the Thirty-fourth Winter Series)
Relayed from the Kew Pavilion, Bournemouth
THE BOURNEMOUTH MUNICIPAL ORCHESTRA
Conducted by Sir DAN GODFREY
THE third has always been the most popular of Tchaikovsky's five orchestral Suites ; the last movement, the longest and most important in the Suite, has a specially strong hold on music-lovers' affections. It is an Air with variations. The theme, a simple melody, is played by the strings alone. In the first variation flutes and clarinets join forces with the strings, pizzicato. Variation two employs a fuller orchestra, and the third the woodwinds have to themselves, the flute beginning the theme and handing it to the clarinet. The fourth variation is in minor for the whole orchestra, and five has a fugal-treatment. Number six is a Tarantelle; seven, like a solemn Chorale, is again by the woodwinds alone: and in the eighth, slow and impressive, the English horn has a solo. The ninth is a jolly rustic dance, and a violin solo is the feature of number ten. Variation eleven is a quiet, seren3 movement, and the twelfth is a brilliant Polonaise, the longest and most important of the series.
PATTISON'S SALON ORCHESTRA
Directed by NORRIS STANLEY
Relayed from the Café Restaurant, Corporation
ROSSINI, happily remembered as the most modest and good-humoured musician who ever lived, holds his place on the operatic stage to-day solely by The Barber of Seville, in spite of its age one of the best comic operas which the world possesses. His serious work, William Tell , is no less worthy of affectionate regard, but except for the Overture it has apparently disappeared from the present-day theatre. The Overture is, however, evergreen, and bids fair to remain so. It begins, as listeners will remember, with a fine, tuneful section for the violoncellos in four parts, popular with violoncello players and with list?ners alike. The section which follows describes a great storm among the hills ; calm succeeds, and a quiet pastoral scene, and there is a stirring march, these combining to make the Overture picturesque and graphic in a way that the Overtures for the older Italian operas did not by any means always achieve.
THE BIRMINGHAM STUDIO ORCHESTRA
Conducted by FRANK CANTELL
GEORGE DAWKINS (Baritone)
HENRY BENTLEY (Violoncello)
The Sicilian Vespers made its first appearance, in French, at the Paris Opera in 1855, two years after Il Trovatore and La Tramata had. appeared a Rome and Venice respectively. The libretto by Scribe, deals with the massacre of the French invaders in Sicily while they were at vespers on Easter Monday, 1282. The tale is a thrilling one if somewhat sanguinary, and the opoia
. is full of Verdi's inimitable charm, so that it is a little difficult to understand why it has fallen nto such neglect. The Overture, however, still holds a warm place in the affections of music lovers and must be too well known to need very much in the way of description.
It begins with a slow introduction in which a menacing figure on drums and strings forms the accompaniment to a sad tune for wood
. winds. The main part ot the Overture, in Allegro agitato, begins with a strenuous figure suggesting strife and warfare ; this is. succeeded, after a silent pause, by a violoncello solo, one of the Verdi melodies which an audience goes away humming to itself. It leads to a march tune beginning very softly and gaining in strength and vigour until we have again a stormy episode.
The violoncello melody is repeated, this time with the assistance of clarinets, and with a fuller accompaniment than before, being transferred a little later to the violins, and a strenuous prestissimo brings the Overture to its close.