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Review of a Performance from The Times
Monday, October 14, 1889.
 
LEEDS MUSIC FESTIVAL
(excerpt)

LEEDS, Oct. 12.

It was only natural that a repetition should be given of The Golden Legend, the triumphant success of the last festival; and it is not wonderful that, although to-night’s concert was an extra one, not included in the subscription, the town-hall was packed from floor to ceiling, many additional seats being provided.

As on the first production of the work, and on many subsequent occasions, Madame Albani sang the part of Elsie, which, it will be universally conceded, suits her admirably. Mr. Lloyd was again the Prince, and Mr. Watkin Mills the Lucifer. Mr. Brereton once more contented himself with the small part of the Forester; considering how finely he sings the leading part in this work and in Berlioz’s Faust, it is a pity that one of them was not given him. Miss Damian’s Ursula was exceedingly sympathetic, and the artist’s usual intelligence was brought to bear upon the task. In many of the choral numbers, and more especially the broad “epilogue,” the choir sang finely, and even where their besetting sin of sinking in pitch was committed, as was almost inevitable in the unaccompanied numbers, Sir Arthur Sullivan’s clever device of recommencing the accompaniment on a note of ambiguous meaning saved the fault from being generally observed.

The work was received very warmly, and at its conclusion the composer was greeted with enthusiastic cheers from both audience and chorus.

The cantata was preceded by his incidental music to Macbeth, with which London amateurs are familiar from the recent performances at the Lyceum. The music stands the transformation for concert purposes far better than some more dramatically-conceived pieces of incidental music have done; that it has the romantic beauty of the Rosamunde music of Schubert can hardly be asserted, but its grace and individual charm will endear it to many hearers who care not to trouble themselves with thinking of the dramatic situations illustrated. The witches’ chorus, “Come away,” sung in the pretty scene interpolated in the Lyceum arrangement, was well sung by the female choristers.


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