Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Frank Tapp: Symphony No. 1 in E ‘The Tempest’

It is always hard luck when one comes across a review of a work that one has not heard and probably has little chance of hearing. However, it is worth while posting this review from The Times newspaper for Frank Tapp’s Symphony No.1 in E ‘The Tempest’. The work was completed in 1913 and was duly given its first performance at a Bath Pump Room Concerts with the Pump Room Orchestra conducted by the composer. It is a work that one has to hoe will reappear at some stage, although I know that it was not published, so it is really serendipity as to whether the manuscript will reappear.
"The production of Mr. Frank Tapp’s Symphony in E major, ‘The Tempest’ drew a large audience last week at the Pump Room, Bath.
The work is laid out on a large scale, the actual playing time being at least 70 minutes. There are the usual four movements. The first opens with a theme that might be described as the Prospero motif; and this theme plays an important part, not only in the first movement but throughout the work, just as in Shakespeare’s play Prospero is the dominating force. The slow movement depicts the love scene between Ferdinand and Miranda. In the Scherzo Ariel does his ‘spriting gently’, and Caliban is introduced in a sinister manner towards the end of the movement. The finale is a portrayal of Prospero, Ferdinand, and Miranda, and, like the first movement, is in sonata form; the coda of the finale is, however, of unusual proportions, and partakes of the nature of a new movement in the form of a dance, in which is welded together the thematic material of the whole work.
The Symphony, quite apart from its programme, is attractive; and although the development sections and codas of the first and last movements seemed unduly prolonged, yet the work never became wearisome, and much of it improved on a second hearing. There is a wealth of orchestral device, effective modulation, and harmonisation. Mr. Tapp is very happy in his endings, the final touch of the first movement being especially noteworthy; and there is much charming writing in the Scherzo.
The work was well received, and at a second performance in the evening of the same day the audience, though smaller, was much more appreciative."
‘From a Correspondent’ The Times Dec. 2 1913 [with minor edits]

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