Night Fancies, Impromptu

B. J. Dale, M. Esposito, John B. McEwen, Felix Swinstead
1909 The Musical Times  
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more » ... -DECEMBER I, I909. THE MUSICAL TIMES.-DECEMBER I, I909. THE MUSICAL TIMES.-DECEMBER I, I909. THE MUSICAL TIMES.-DECEMBER I, I909. THE MUSICAL TIMES.-DECEMBER I, I909. The Friar's Mere. Ballad for baritone solo, male chorus and orchestra. English words by Elizabeth M. Lockwood. By Max Laistner (Op. Il). [Novello & Co., Ltd. 'The Friar's Mere,' translated from Ludwig Laistner's ' Geisterpredigt,' tells a grim story, the true inwardness of which is not revealed at a glance. A shepherd whose mind is void of superstitious fears, coming to a lake supposed to be haunted by a ghostly friar, mockingly challenges the latter to come forth by daylight. To his horror the summons is answered; a host of evil powers are let loose, amid which the friar appears before him. Christian prayers are in vain, and the shepherd's soul flies from his body, presumably into the power of the friar. The musical setting is vividly descriptive and dramatic. Its texture is modern, and many of the harmonies are in keeping with the subject. The difficulties do not, however, extend to the choral parts, which for the greater part move together. The baritone solo gives good opportunities for declamatory singing. Night Fancies, Impromptu. By B. J. Dale. Ballades (Op. 59). By M. Esposito. Four Sketches. By John B. McEwen. Seven Preludes. By Felix Swinstead. [G. Ricordi & Co.] Mr. B. J. Dale's impromptu, 'Night Fancies,' is a highly poetic and interesting piece, musically and technically rather intricate, but fascinating and rich in harmonic beauty. Great things may be expected of this gifted young composer when he has attained greater artistic maturity. The three ballades by Dr. Esposito are very suggestive of Brahms in style, but they contain throughout good, genuine, and at times really beautiful music. The pianoforte writing is broad and sonorous, and the composer avoids superficial effects. Mr. McEwen's sketches are the work of a serious artist, who in going his own somewhat gloomy way, avoids the commonplace. The Prelude and Elegy contain several harmonically interesting progressions, while the Quasi Menuetto, in 5-8 time, seems rather laboured. The last of the four pieces, though very strange, is a clever Humoresque. If only by reason of their many original touches, both musical and technical, the seven Preludes by Mr. Felix Swinstead will doubtless prove a welcome addition to those already published in the Avison edition. The seventh Prelude in particular, with its passionate melody and interesting arpeggio accompaniment, is very charming. In the North land. Part-song for mixed voices. By Cliffe Forrester. The three ships. For mixed-voice chorus and orchestra. By Colin Taylor. Bacchanalian Chorus. For men's voices. By J. W. Elliott. Duncan Gray. Gather ye rosebuds. Part-songs for male voices. By A. Madeley Richardson. [Novello & Co., Ltd.] Mr. Forrester's ' In the North land' runs a smooth and simple course from beginning to end. The parenthetical phrases that lengthen a line now and then are effective, and prevent squareness of form. As there is repetition and no difficulty or elaboration, the part-song is one that can be learned quickly. The words are by Mrs. Forrester. In the case of Mr. Taylor's 'The three ships,' the inscription 'composed for the Eton College Musical Society, Christmas, 1909,' is an indication of the character as well as the purpose of the work. Mr. Taylor has invented a tune that exactly fits the situation, and he applies it to every verse of the poem with the substitution of major for minor mode in the last. In the vocal scoring unison is the rule and part-writing the exception. There is, however, no lack of variety in the ingenious accompaniment. Mr. Elliott's setting of the Bacchanalian Chorus from Sheridan's ' Duenna ' is full of spirit, and there is moreover a suggestive rolling movement in the voice parts. There are passages in which the subject-matter is passed from mouth to mouth in the most convivial manner. The needful support is supplied by a firmly moving accompaniment, and the whole is worked up into a hilarious climax. The Friar's Mere. Ballad for baritone solo, male chorus and orchestra. English words by Elizabeth M. Lockwood. By Max Laistner (Op. Il). [Novello & Co., Ltd. 'The Friar's Mere,' translated from Ludwig Laistner's ' Geisterpredigt,' tells a grim story, the true inwardness of which is not revealed at a glance. A shepherd whose mind is void of superstitious fears, coming to a lake supposed to be haunted by a ghostly friar, mockingly challenges the latter to come forth by daylight. To his horror the summons is answered; a host of evil powers are let loose, amid which the friar appears before him. Christian prayers are in vain, and the shepherd's soul flies from his body, presumably into the power of the friar. The musical setting is vividly descriptive and dramatic. Its texture is modern, and many of the harmonies are in keeping with the subject. The difficulties do not, however, extend to the choral parts, which for the greater part move together. The baritone solo gives good opportunities for declamatory singing. Night Fancies, Impromptu. By B. J. Dale. Ballades (Op. 59). By M. Esposito. Four Sketches. By John B. McEwen. Seven Preludes. By Felix Swinstead. [G. Ricordi & Co.] Mr. B. J. Dale's impromptu, 'Night Fancies,' is a highly poetic and interesting piece, musically and technically rather intricate, but fascinating and rich in harmonic beauty. Great things may be expected of this gifted young composer when he has attained greater artistic maturity. The three ballades by Dr. Esposito are very suggestive of Brahms in style, but they contain throughout good, genuine, and at times really beautiful music. The pianoforte writing is broad and sonorous, and the composer avoids superficial effects. Mr. McEwen's sketches are the work of a serious artist, who in going his own somewhat gloomy way, avoids the commonplace. The Prelude and Elegy contain several harmonically interesting progressions, while the Quasi Menuetto, in 5-8 time, seems rather laboured. The last of the four pieces, though very strange, is a clever Humoresque. If only by reason of their many original touches, both musical and technical, the seven Preludes by Mr. Felix Swinstead will doubtless prove a welcome addition to those already published in the Avison edition. The seventh Prelude in particular, with its passionate melody and interesting arpeggio accompaniment, is very charming.
doi:10.2307/905855 fatcat:uurtq4xurvee5ib7mtn3opjj4i