The Birmingham Pianoforte Quartet: Thomas Jones (Violin); Arthur Kennedy (Viola); Leonard Dennis (Violoncello); Michael Mullinar (Pianoforte) -
Mozart's First Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and 'Cello is in the key of G Minor.
It consists of three separate Movements, as follows:-
I. Quick. This is a closely-woven, yet light, airy piece.
The First Main Tune is heard at once. A very large part of the Movement is made out of the rather downright opening phrase for all the instruments. Here it is balanced by a florid little phrase on the Piano; then both phrases are repeated. Great play is made with this opening phrase, especially with its first two long notes.
Several little tunes crop up, and Mozart early begins to make use of his opening idea. The Piano starts the Second Main Tune - a graceful, quiet one in thirds. A sort of answer to it is played by the Strings, as their contribution to the second idea. The Piano repeats this String bit, the Violin imitating. Space prohibits a detailed description of the rest of this Movement, most of which explains itself.
II. At a steady pace. This Movement consists partly of expressive, rather serious melodies, and partly of rapid, decorative scale-passages.
The Piano, at the opening, has the First Main Tune.
The Second Tune is soon heard, after a short Piano shake. The Violin begins it, the other Strings harmonising, and the Piano adds an answering strain.
III. Quick. The Finale is a gay Rondo, in which the chief Tune comes round several times. The Main Tune of this Rondo is a long one, but quite clear. First of all the Piano alone plays a sentence. This is repeated by Piano and Strings. Next comes another sentence for Piano alone, and this is repeated by Strings alone. The Piano comes in again at the end, and all the instruments round the whole Tune off. Several other equally care-free melodies are utilised. Our enjoyment of the Movement largely lies in the fact that while all are different and distinctive, they are unified and well blended. In other words, we have here one of the fundamentals of all good art - Variety in Unity.
Dale Smith (Baritone) - Songs from "The Fair Maid of the Mill" (Schubert): "A-Roaming"; "Whither"; "The Question"; "Serenade"; "Impatience"
Schubert's wonderful gift of melody found its most natural expression in his songs, of which he wrote over six hundred. He seemed to lay hold, with clear purpose, of the various types of emotion and thought in the poems he set, and to choose for each the perfectly appropriate musical expression.
"The Fair Maid of the Mill" is a set of twenty-five poems by Wm. Muller, of which Schubert set a score.
In "A-Roaming" we have the care-free song of the miller's man, who wants to go off and see the world. The mill-wheels don't stand still, says he, and the water always wanders on and on. So will he; heigh-ho for the road!
"Whither?" is the question he puts to the brooklet beside which he takes his way. "You will find your mill to turn, some day, and I'll find my work waiting for me too - somewhere, some day." "The Question", of course, is one of the oldest questions - that of the youth who seeks to know if a maiden loves him. The stars and flowers can't tell him. Maybe the brook can. No? "O tell me, she does love me?" But the brook is tantalizingly silent, for once.
In the "Serenade" the youth, beneath the beloved's window, sings a morning greeting, rhapsodizing about her after the fashion of lovers the world over.
"Impatience". All Nature must bear the message to the beloved - "Thine is my heart, and shall be thine for ever." But impatient love need wait for no messages: her eyes will know the unspoken thought, her heart will feel a heart's devotion.
First Pianoforte Quartet in G Minor Allegro; Andante ; Rondo - Mozart
QUARTET First Two Movements from Pianoforte Quartet in C Minor, No. 1 Allegro Molto Moderato ; Scherzo - Faure
DALE SMITH Autumn - Muriel Herbert
The City Child (First Performance) - Becket Williams
Minnie and Winnie (First Performance) - Becket Williams
My Little Pretty One - Ian Montrose
A Lawsuit - D. M. Stewart
Yarmouth Fair - arr. Peter Warlock
QUARTET Last Two Movements from Pianoforte Quartet in C Minor, No. 1 - Faure
On the first Sunday in each month until March, when the Centenary of Beethoven's death occurs, a Beethoven Programme will be performed as a tribute to the great Composer. In this series Nigel Dallaway (Pianoforte) and the Station Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Lewis, will give the five Pianoforte Concertos and the Fantasia for Pianoforte, Chorus and Orchestra
This Overture was written not for Shakespeare's tragedy, but for a drama by an Austrian, one von Collin.
Wagner, in an essay on the music, presumes that Beethoven had in mind one particular scene in Shakespeare's play - that in which Coriolanus, having been banished from his native city and having joined its enemies, yielded to the prayers of his wife and mother, and refused to besiege the city. For this he was condemned to death by his allies. Wagner suggests that the hero is pictured in the opening melody, and the prayers of the women in the second, gentle, tune. The conflict between his desires and their pleadings goes on, says the commentator; and certainly, if ever a piece of music suggested mental conflict, this Overture does so. The final bars contain a broken, faltering form of the melody that at the opening was so strong and bold-a dramatic, imaginative stroke the makes us feel the deep tragedy of Coriolanus's end.
MAY MARTIN (Contralto)
God in Nature
THE Heavens declare the Lord's infinite glory .... and the earth and sea sound
His name ... Hear, O man, what they tell ! He created the stars, and calls from His tent the Sun, coming in brightness from afar, and moving upon his course like a hero.'
NIGEL DALLAWAY and Orchestra
First Pianoforte Concerto in C Major, Op. 15
THOUGH this is called the first of Beethoven's
Concertos because it was the earliest to be published, it was really the second in order of composition. If one compares it with the so-called Second Concerto, it will be found to be in many ways an advance upon that. It was written when the composer was about twenty-eight, and is full of life and grace.
As was usual in the Concerto at that time, the Orchestra alone, in the opening bars, first presents the chief themes (though it should not do this so fully that the Piano is left with little that is fresh to say about them when it comes in, there is a weakness of that kind in the First Movement of this Concerto : but. the Piano has some brilliant and forceful matter to deal with, and holds its own gallantly). Near the end there is a pause for the 'Cadenza,' when the Piano goes off on an adventure of its own. Beethoven, apparently dissatisfied with himself, 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, and shows that the Composer is bent on keeping the tune 'in the air' all the time.
The contrasting Second Tune comes in on the First Violins and Oboes, and (after the 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.
MAY MARTIN and Orchestra
Aria, 'In questa Tomba Oscura'
THIS air was the last of a series of no fewer than sixty-three settings of a poem (one which had originally been improvised to fit a tune made up at. the Piano, at a musical gathering). Parr, Salieri, Cherubini, and other composers, joined in the game of setting in questa tomba, one man, Zingarelli, actually writing ten settings of it!
The poet imagines a lover who has died of grief at his lady's neglect; she, repentant, weeps over his grave, and his spirit enjoins her to let him rest - she should have thought of him while he was alive. He wants no deceitful tears now ; ho would have peace for his weary spirit.
Finale from 'Prometheus' Ballet Suite
CORA ASTLE (Pianoforte), JOHN ADAMS (Tenor)
THE STATION ORCHESTRA, conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS
SOON after Mendelssohn' came' horn 7.his
Italian and Swiss tour in 1831. he wrote this
Concerto. He was then twenty -two
There are three Movements.
I (Very quick, fiery). Mendelssohn plunges almost at once into his First Main Tune, which the Piano has by itself. "
The Soloist and Orchestra for a white toss a conversational ball to and fro, and then the quiet Second Main
Tune creeps in. These tunes are developed in vigorous fashion, and after their recapitulation a Trumpet and Horn passage leads us to anew key for the next Movement, which follows without a break
11 (Rather slow). One Main
Time, expressive and restful, suffices here. It is given out by the 'Cello, to which Mendelssohn was fond of giving themes.
Thu Movement consists of delicate varied repetitions of this, by either the Soloist or the Orchestra
III A short introductory section (Very quick) leads to the brilliant First Main Tune, a galop for the Piano. Here is the essence of youthful vivacity, that in Mendelssohn was never tinged with vulgarity, but always had in it something high-toned and urbane
After the opening Tune comes a second idea, a coruscation of arpeggios, much used throughout tho Movement.
A third motive is a phrase for
Flutes, consisting of a repeated four-note figure, the second note trilled.
Using these materials with brilliant spontaneity and handling his Orchestra (especially tho
Woodwind) with delightful ease and certainty, Mendelssohn works up the Movement, rounding it off
With a final irresistible outhurst.
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 fora church celebration, the Symphony makes many a quotation of church music. The very opening notes are a mediaeval 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. This part is fully worked out as a symphonic ' first movement.'
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 this hymn tune. Fragments of it.are heard against a running figure in the Strings.
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.