Elgar's Finest Achievement
By Our Musical Correspondent IT is interesting to hear that an attempt is being made in (tenth' quarters to re-establish the English
ballad in popularity. It is a heroic endeavour, but in one sense foredoomed to failure. It merks, perhaps, a. slight reaction against the predominance of jezz and imported music; but no man can put bark the hands of the clock or stem the tides of change and fashion. .
'rho English ballad was at its prime in a shy when ballad concerts were frequent and thronged by the public, and when some of the greatest singers gave their services to popularise this kind of song, It was a hardy and prolific plant, and scone of the ballads written during its palmy days were by III) means wanting in melody or in yield Interest. A few of these have survived and are still popular; but, like all good things, the reign of the banal could not last for ever, and a change in social habits, the advent of American musie, jazz bands and the rest, have long since dethroned the onetime favourite.
Lowbrow and Highbrow
But here we must make a distinction. There will always be a place for English song, and indeed for English ballads, though their number and scope Is far more restrained to-day. Side by by side with the ballad there has .existed for many years a type of composition known as an " art" song, and it would be a bad day for England if songs of real distinction and musical interest ceased to flow from the fertile genius of our English miaposers. Some of these songs, too, have established themselves as popular favourites, and the distinction between lowbrow and highbrow does not always hold. At the same time, those who want to discover the best songs are apt to turn instinctively to the great writers like Schubert. Braluns and Wolf, and to neglect the English, while the great public is content as a rule to have its ears tickled, and does not trouble itself particularly about the source, native 'Jr foreign, Crain w hich the popular hit has arisen.
Certainly the B.B.C. has always beeo fair, if oot generous. to the claims of English sung of all kinds, and if people do want ballads again in increasing numbers it isatertain that they will get eventually what they are seeking, but the omens scarcely petit in that directam.
The winter season is still crowded with good concerts, and on one dae recently It was possible to hear two different renderings of Eigar's Introduction and Allegro for Strings, one from Bournemouth, another from -London. This work is generally considered uric of the finest achievement of our great English musician, and will rank probably with the Two Symphonies and the 'Cello Concerto as ha: greatest work, to which could be added perhaps the Violin Concerto, despite Its one 'obvious fault—a certain want of cohesion.
On the same day Beethove as "Empire " Concerto was heard in the afternoon; and in the evening at Queen's Hall Walter Giesking gave ad admirable rendering of Beethoven's Fourth Concerto for the Pianoforte in ta Here surely is one of the most satisfying works of art that even Beethoven produced. It reflects a happier and lighter vein than most of his work and only once is there a note of sorrow or anxiety, which is expressed in. the Slow Movement-a-a dialogue between the piano and the orchestra. Here the plaintive and almost grumbling tone of the strings is stilled and soothed by the voice of the piano, and in the Hondo that follows. Beethoven gives free expression to all the charm and hilarity of which he is capable, while the musical interest never flags.
Social Disposition This Is. of course, a very true reflection of the man, for modern research has shown that Beethoven was indeed a man of sorrows and that the chief burden of his life was his inc-easing deafness and the fits Of depression and despair which it engendered. It was not merely that this deafness might intarlara with . Iii __Puro100./
Whieh were in no way impaired by the Coes of hearing, so far as we Noe judge, To understand Beethoven rightly e rittiSt remember that lie was essentially of a social disposition, loved the company of sympathetic friends, and net, the least his feminine admirers, and that it was from these pleasures-he wee debarred more and more as the years Passed by and was thus compelled to live in a hied of morose isolation.
Ile was naturally proud and seusitive, conscious as he must have been of his; great gifts, and feeling within himself the constant urge of his genius to deepen his message end explore the highest fields of creation. Deafness to such a man was a burdeu, bravely borne for the most part, len leaving a certain stamp upon bie life .ana work. His Musie is the result largely of a spirituel struggle. Seldom dries he give way to despair.
Sir Donald Tovey• has spoken recently of " his invincible courage. his willingness to face facts"; and this is indeed the final glory of his music, and his last Symphony concludes with a setting 9f the Ode to Joy."
Mathilde Verne—On Febrile re 14 ihe aah season of the Thursday Twelve O'Ciock Concerts was brought to an end. Twelve o'clock in the reornien may seem a curious hour to give a. colleen. but Miss Mathilde Verne has revived, perhaps unknowingly, a custom Of long ago, and that with the greatest success. M uhrer gave the second of his three programmes of Beane. s at "e.
Aeolian Hall on Tapsday nary and the third eonvert stand, been postponed. b, aihre cau rest assured that then be ne waning of interest in hi rpretia tions of Brahms when he is able to resume them. At his last concert thia artiste played Brahms's Sonata in minor, Op. 5, the Two Sets of 'Variations, Op. 21, and the Three Intermezzi,
Maurice Eleenberg.—On Monday,. February .4, Mr Eisenberg gave aprogramme of violoncello 'music at the Wigmore Hall, which included 'Valens tini's Sonata, Fauro's Second Souata, Op. 117, Bach's Third Suite in C major, and a new piece, Reverie, by Casals, /Matrix Marr gave a violin recital at the Wigmore Hall on Tuesday, February 5. tier pieces included ViValdi's A minor Concerto, Bretons's D minor Sonata, assisted by Miss Eileen Ralph; and the Largo and Allegro from Bach's 5th Sonata. A successful career seems assured to this artiste, whose tone was consistent throughout, and her interpretations were fresh and interesting. British Women's Symphony Orchestra gave its second concert on Wednesday, February la, and one further concert is to complete the present series on April 13 at 3 o'clock caotnclQuucteeednabyHaLlx. The orchestra ll•alcolm _Samna,