By ERNEST MOSS The presence of the Queen at the B.B.C. symphony concert last week was probably a mark of official recognition of its importance for contemporary English Music.
Two generations were represented by works by Ireland and Walton. Without any prejudice as to what is modern and what is outmoded I think Walton is the more skilful and pleasurable composer. But this opinion is grounded on a general survey of their works, because at the B.B,C, concert two of the works were new and thus difficult to judge.
Walton's new choral work is a setting c Dunbar's poem In Honour of the City of London. Timothy Shy, of the News Chronicle, whose judgment I respect, thought it " sumptuously Gothic, massy and superb "; but with all due reservations because of the unfamiliarity of the music I imagine that Dunbar's resplendent poetry illumines what would otherwise be drab
music. At any rate it is certain that it does not so immediately tickle the sensibilities or raise the blood pressure as the exhilarating noise which accompanied Belshazzar's Feast. But then the same sort of thing could be said in contrasting Bach with Beethoven.
All Climax Belshazzar's Feast ended the programme appropriately; for in spite of some flat spots where Walton fails to sustain himself the work is nearly all climax. It also shows that Walton is like most good musicians—a highly efficient trickster.
Ireland's new choral work, These Things Shall Be, is part of a poem by John Addington Symonds, 1 found completely uninteresting and weary. The Times' critic found reminiscences of Parry and Elgar and seized upon them as ground for praise, To me sliminess is decadence.
I heard one person, coming out of Queen's Hall after Belshazzar's Feast, finding pleasure in the comparative silence of a London street.
Delicacies of Mozart
The Grande Chamber Orchestra gave a concert at the Aeolian Hall last Friday. The orchestra has cohesion and sonarity and played Mozart very well. But the wind at times played horribly sharp, and this should have been avoided by calculation. The strings were graceful and delicate in the Mozart but had some trouble with high slithering passages in a Herbert Bedford setting of a Romeo and Juliet love scene.
Romeo and Juliet (Philip Warde and Frances Allsom) made love as well as they could in the circumstances, not without comic relief. Mr. Grande's sinuous arabesques did not seriously interfere with his conducting and were sometimes a pleasure to the eye.
Antony English, accompanied by Gerald Gover, played the fiddle at the Grotrian Hall last week. He should in time make a really good violinist and the defects of his playing (imperfect intonation and some insecurity in the bowing) were perhaps due to public playing, which I imagine he is not properly used to.