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Newman goes on, however, to commend Strauss's 'highly expressive music',
nowhere more graphic than in the opening passage that sets the scene and gives
John Bell Young, the accomplished pianist, a chance to show his paces
[listen -- track 1, 0:00-1:08].
Nor of course can the born opera composer
fail to devise motifs sufficiently telling and diverse to characterise the
three young children as they set out on a life's journey that will so
fatefully entwine them [listen -- track 1, 1:47-2:26].
Annie is loved by Philip,
son of the mill, and the fisher-boy Enoch. It is Enoch who wins her, and
his motif that dominates the work, as he plies his trade, decides on
distant travel to improve his fortune, is wrecked on the return journey, comes
home after more than a decade to find Annie now Philip's wife, rejects any
idea of disturbing her new-found peace, and withers away in his native port.
'And where was Enoch?' Tennyson asks after ringing wedding bells for Philip
and Annie; Strauss comments thus [listen -- track 3,
0:00-1:05]. Enoch as
castaway inhabits an island that has not the musical or literary riches
Caliban gives his home in Shakespeare's Tempest. But here Tennyson is on
top form, and Strauss backs him more than adequately
[listen -- track 6, 3:59-4:51].
Copyright © 4 May 2003
Robert Anderson, London, UK