• Benjamin Frankel
  • May Day Overture (1949)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Dedicated to Hugo Rignold

  • 22224331timp.3perchp.celstr
  • 9 min

Programme Note

First heard at a Promenade Concert in 1950 and subtitled by the composer as a Panorama, this work can be regarded as a distillation of Frankel's extraordinary ability to conjure up a wide variety of moods and descriptions in a few well chosen bars.

Fanfares for brass, percussion and, surprisingly enough, bold fanfares for the upper strings are bandied about before the main forward drive is set in motion. Here, against a figuration in the upper woodwind of later thematic significance, a joyous riot of counterpoint, far from the world of academia, hints, appropriately enough, at Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. A panorama is certainly what passes before our ears. Scenes bucolic, grotesque, urban and rural dances, the sentimental, the ironic, the sincere and deeply felt, all painted with ever changing orchestral colour. Finally the fanfares return, broader, resolved, the day's celebrations at an end.
© Buxton Orr 1993

Listen

May Day Overture, Op. 22

Discography