Worcester Musical Festival

1893 The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular  
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more » ... ist, who departed this life about Christmas last. The second was given "by request " of an influential local gentleman, who heard the piece in Germany and wished that his neighbours might also have a pleasant recollection concerning it. Both these novelties were performed at the solitary secular Concert which now remains to these Festivals, and is at Worcester, given in the Public Hall on Wednesday evening. There was a large audience on the occasion and Dr Parry's Overture had a sympathetic hearing, as anything by a man personally so esteemed is sure to have. The work bears no name, and no clue to its " poetic basis" has, to our knowledge, been given. It happens however, that neither name nor clue is needed for the enjoyment of music which, like Schuberts " Unfinished " Symphony, clearly suggests a conflict as between light and darkness. The nature of the contending elements each hearer can judge for himself, but they are plainly to be felt in the strenuous, agitated leading subject with its strong treatment, and the melodious, graceful, and tender second theme. The Overture is worked out with full command of necessary means, and gives $he impression of a masterly composition which will become more esteemed the better it is known. With regard to " Gretchen im Dom," we must pronounce it an apt example of the forciblefeeble in music. The composer puts in motion a great deal of machinery, and sets up a huge clatter of wheels and cranks, but nothing worth speaking of is ground out. A mountain labours and, when all is over, we say " A mouse has come forth." The organ part is curiously ineffective considering that an organist wrote it. Enough of 4' Gretchen im Dom, and good-bye ! Six performances were given in the Cathedral, the first being, according to unvarying rule, devoted to " Elijah,'t and, also according to unvarying rule, the attendance was large-the second largest of the week, in point of factr first honours being taken by " The Messiah '1 on Friday. It would be idle to consume time and space with details especially as the chief solos were in the tried and capable hands of Madame Albani, Miss Anna Williams, Mr. Lloyd, and Mr. Watkin Mills, whose rendering of the Prophet's music was very favourably regarded. The contralto solos (save one) were entrusted to Madame Belle Cole, that lady's somewhat uncultivated £tyle having a foil in the very refined and sympathetic singing of '; Woe unto them," by Miss Jessie King, a young beginner with apparently, a future. The choruses were given fairly weli under the conditions set up by the control of an inexperienced Conductor. Mr. Hugh Blair, the Organist of Worcester Cathedral, is a capable man, but, like every other needs practice in the difficult craft of a chef d'orchestre He will arrive in time, but at present he is not there and consciousness of this seemed to lessen the spirit with which the chorus (including IOO singers from Leeds) attacked their work. Tuesday evening was devoted to Beethoven's Symphony in A and Handel's " Israel ill Egypt." The performance of the Symphony, or rather its effect was marred by the Conductor's slow te7npi, and othersvise had weak points. It is, however, something to have such great orchestral works recognised as fit for us.e in a sacred place. Created by Heaven's inspiration, they are certainly fit for the house in which the Lord of Heaven is worshipped, and there is not the least need t :} slow down the {emi lest they should give offence. Perpend, Mr. Blair. Handel's Oratorio of the great Deliverance, with its massive double choruses, had a better effect than was anticipated in view of comparatively small means. The performance was, of course, helped by the resonant qualities of the Cathedral. Every chorus-singer in such a building is equal to two in a concert-room7 and three or four at the Crystal Palace. Hence the ensssebZe did not so much lack the requisite power and majesty as the numerical force engaged seemed to suggest. The solos were entrusted to Miss Williams, Madame Cole, Mr. Lloyd Mr. Ineson, and Mr. Brereton. Of these artists Mr. Lloyd took chief honours with a superb rendering of ' The enemy said." Wednesday's proceedings opened with Bach's Mass in B minor-performed according to the Leeds version of l886 and I892 The choice of this work was bold and sonzewhat risky, but, although the Conductor's teszpi were again
doi:10.2307/3362209 fatcat:66spurs5prczlp7l6suuocd3km