—a fitting introduction
Arnold Has r String Quartet In G major, played by the Griller Quartet.
iT is generally agreed that this work is a fitting introduction to the compositions of Bax, and it is well to have a recording of this Quartet. There arc three movements and the work is complete on four records (eight sides), the first is an Allegro full of attractive melody, the second a Lento movement and the third a Rondo, Allegro, Vivace. The appeal is immediate and the musical thought easy to follow, The Griller Quartet arc obviously familiar with the work and give an intimate and able performance.
Moura Lyrnpany proceeds with the recording of the Preludes of Rachmaninoff (24 in all), and this month we have the Prelude in B flat and the Prelude in B minor— both admirable examples of the pianistic style of this composer. Ida Heandel performs the Tzigane of Ravel for the violin and Astra Desmond is heard in Ave Marla (Bach-Gounod) and in Agnits Del of Bizet, The choir of the 2nd Battalion of the Welsh Guards may be heard to advantage in " All Through the Night," a traditional air, arranged by Northcote, and the " March of the Men of Harlech."
Saint-Sums: Carnival of the Animals, Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra; with two pianists, Jeanne Behrend and Sylvan Levin. (Three records —six slides.) DX. 5942-4.
THIS familiar music receives a splendid a rendering, and here may be heard once more the Wild Asses (in their pianistic flights), the Tortoise, the Elephant, in stately progress; the miracle of the Aquarium; and the ever-lovely song of the dying swan. No point is missed in the delicate satire or triumphant melody of these pieces, but perhaps the daintiest of all is the Flight of the Birds (on side 4), where the whole air fills suddenly with vibrant wings and tremulous song.
Another American recording is the Ballet Music from Faust (Gounod), where the Boston Promenade Orchestra does full justice to this charming music; the orchestra is conducted by Arthur Fiddler.
From these delights we may turn to the Violin Concerto of William Walton, where the soloist is Heifetz, with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, under Eugene Goos suns. (Three records, six sides.) There is no mistaking the brilliance and vitality of this work ; the feast of the soloist are almost incredible and the orchestra is handled with sure skill. There ate three movements— Andante tranquillo, Presto capriccioso alla hapolitana, and a concluding Vivace. This work is in some ways a departure from the conventional form of a Violin Concerto— the soloist entering almost at the first bar, without orchestral proem; there is no stated pause for a Cadenza, and no slow movement (unless it be the first).
The composer seems to have aimed at a fiery compression of the classical form and his material is very much what one would expect from the composer ot the first sym
phony that dates from about 1935. The mood seems restlesa and rebellious and though the first movement is marked tranquillo, it does little to tranquillise the emotions. As in so much modern music there is a sense of strain and violence; as if the soul had become overwrought by the demands of our day. The novelty and virtuosity arc astounding, but it is too early yet to say whether this Concerto has the enduring qualities that will enshrine it among the greatest works for the violin.
Among the songs issued this month we may mention " Pleading " and " Now sleeps the crimson petal " (Maggie 'feyte); To Mary and Star of my Soul, sung by Webster Booth; and Arise, 0 Sun, and The Lord is my Light, sung by the Kentucky Minstrels. " Pleading," by the way, is one of Elgar's songs, to words by Salmon.
C. G. M.
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