Hiawatha and the Meistersingers – A Cello Interlude (video)

December 1927

Mexborough and Swinton Times December 9, 1927

Hiawatha and the Meistersingers
A Cello Interlude.

The Conisborough Musical Society has had an excellent audience for their first concert of the season, given in the Epworth Hall, Denaby Main, on Wednesday evening. They presented a programme which was full of interest and variety, consisting of a performance of the first two parts of “Hiawatha,” a ‘cello recital by Mr. Collin Smith, and a choral fantasia on “The Mieister-singers,” arranged by Percy Fletcher. The “Hiawatha” music was sung confidently and correctly by the choir, which was not surprising, seeing that this lovely work has twice previously been performed by them. What was surprising was the powerful tone produced from a choir of not more than sixty voices, weak in the males—weakest of all in tenors.

“Who would have thought,” wailed Lady Macbeth, “that an old man would have had so much blood in him?”

A similar thought crossed our minds as we listened to this gallant little choir pouring forth the massive choruses of Coleridge-Taylor and Wagner with an almost majestic tone. They were never obscured or blurred at any stage of the performance by the orchestra, and it was’ quite a powerful orchestra, even though it had no brass. It was an imaginative performance both by voices and strings, and rose to considerable heights, of tenderness and poetry. The conductor, Mr. W. A. Twelves, succeeded in imposing his own love and understanding  of music of this character upon the instruments he commanded. It was also technically a very good performance, and contained few faults, and blemishes on either hand. It was given distinction, too, by the work of the principals, Mr. Joseph Green, who sang the “Onaway, Awake, Beloved” gloriously; Miss Ida Moor, and Mr. Douglas $adler, who gave us a very vivid picture of the scene of desolation and disaster in the second part.

The Society had an inspiration, and invited reading of Longfellow’s narrative. This was beautifully done, and achieved the desired effect of creating a suitable atmosphere tor the reception of the work.

The audience listened with delight to the ‘cello interlude by Mr. Collin Smith,’ who gave a ‘short recital of four pieces, and afterwards responded to an enthusiastic demand for a fifth. The four items of his programme welt ; “Adagio” (Haydn), “Allegro Spiritoso”, (Senaille) (video ), “Hamabdil” (Bantock), and “Gavotte” (Poffer). He played his beautiful instrument like the master that he is, and the accompaniments of Miss Ivy Smith were all that could be desired. Mr. Smith also played in the orchestra, and supplied the ‘cello solo passenger, for the two choral works. The orchestra as, a whole was led by Mr. Harold Sharp and Mr. Moses’ Soar.

Tha orchestral work is always a delightful feature of the Conisboro’ concerts, and considering that the orchestra has to be assembled ad hoc on each occasion it is surprising that the results are so satisfactory. If ever the Conisborough Musical Society is able to extend its scope, it is to be hoped that those who played on Wednesday will be available as the nucleus of an orchestral section.

Although  “The Meistersingers” is one of the most beautiful operas every written, its music is not nearly so ‘familiar to this district as it should be, and the audience listened with great interest as well as pleasure to the example’s which the choir gave from Percy Fletcher’s very convenient arrangement. The fantasia includes the Prize Song (video), beautifully sung by Mr. Green, who seemed to :revel every note of it—the church music, the Dance of the Apprentices, and the grand finale, “Hail, Master Minstrel.”

The little soprano solo, supplied by Miss, Bloor, was also one of the evening’s dainties. Mr. Ernest Dabbe (accompanist) did good work on Wednesday and throughout the period of rehearsal. The Society-are very fortunate indeod in their conductor and t I accompanist.

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