excerpt from 'Lionel Bradley Bulletin, 18 Jan 1939' (285 words)

excerpt from 'Lionel Bradley Bulletin, 18 Jan 1939' (285 words)

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Lionel Bradley Bulletin, 18 Jan 1939

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Jan. 18, B.B.C., Bruno Walter

I can never understand why Brahms’s Tragic Overture isn't better known and more popular. I always enjoy hearing it. To-night’s performance was good, a little on the quiet side. The Song of Destiny can hardly be called a great work but it is eminently worthy. I thought that the orchestral prelude & postlude were particularly expressively played & the choir sang well and eloquently with well judged variations of power. As for the Choral Symphony I fear I must give it up as a bad job. I always start off hopefully since the first movement seems to me to be about as good as any that Beethoven wrote. The scherzo starts well but goes on so long that my attention begins to wander. I have never yet made anything of the slow movement & the last movement, tho’ it has its moments, has not for me anything like the sublimity at which it aims – indeed it tends to verge on the comic & the elephantine orchestral interlude is definitely humorous in result if not in intention. Yet to-nights performance was probably as good as any I have heard or will hear. The quartet (Isobel Baillie, Margaret Balfour, Parry Jones, Harold Williams) was reasonably good; The sopranos in their most frenzied efforts never sounded as though they were straining their voices, the translation (by Owen Mase) was infinitely superior to the standard one and Walter seems to get their best from the B.B.C. orchestra. But my opinion of the work remained unchanged. There was if anything even greater enthusiasm than a week ago – but to my mind there was no comparison between the two concerts

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