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By special correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor [Marion M. Scott]

LONDON, England — Outstanding features of the Promenade Concert at the Queen’s Hall on September 25 were the first introduction in England of Henry Hadley’s orchestral rhapsody "The Culprit Fay," the first performance of Herbert Howells’ already famous little piece, "Puck’s Minuet," and Mr. Leonard Borwick’s splendid playing in the Schumann piano concerto. Obviously the rest of the program had been put together to carry out the idea of legends and romance thus initiated. Though interesting in itself, even educational, the plan might have been better carried out, for as it stood the program was a little hard on the new works, and did not leave them that free space in which to show their merits which a congruous contrast supplies. Anyone who recalls Weber’s overture to "Der Freischutz," Sibelius’s morbid (but alas! popular) "Valse Triste," and Saint Saens’ "Dance Macabre" (certainly a very polished and genial bizarrerie!) will realize this, especially when, as at this concert, an aria from Tschaikowsky’s "Dame de Pique" and one from Wagner’s "Flying Dutchman" are added...

Hadley’s rhapsody, "The Culprit Fey," is founded on a fairy poem by J. R. Drake, and represents the Odyssey of an elf who loved a mortal maiden. It belongs to that school of program music advocated by Liszt, wherein the literary form practically governs the musical, and a knowledge of the story is indispensable to the listener. Granted this, the rhapsody is a most enjoyable work, and has the merit of becoming steadily more interesting the farther it proceeds. Planned on large lines, using orchestration, it shows Mr. Hadley as a very accomplished composer. If some sections indicate that his musical thoughts are clothed in cosmopolitan rather than individual formulae, the end — depicting cock-crow and the flight of the fairies — is delightfully humorous and original. It has the true American tang and the audience appreciated it keenly....

(Marion M. Scott (1877-1953) was an English musicologist, critic, writer (biographer of Beethoven), editor, violinist, who is best know today as the friend of composer-poet Ivor Gurney)

Reprinted courtesy of S. Hardy Prince and Pamela Blevins


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