|Sullivan > Major Works > On Shore and Sea > Times Review
Immediately after the opening of the 1871 International Exhibition by the Prince of Wales amid much pageantry, there followed a vocal and instrumental concert, described in the programme as an “Exhibition of Musical Arts”. New pieces were written specially for the occasion by Ciro Pinsuiti, Charles Gounod, Ferdinand Hiller and Arthur Sullivan, all of whom conducted their own compositions.
Last, not least, England was represented, and, we may add, worthily represented, by Mr. Arthur Sullivan, who contributed a dramatic cantata, entitled On Shore and Sea, the plan and character of which may be best explained by the “argument” supplied for the programme by Mr. Tom Taylor, author of the words:–
The music of Mr. Sullivan is full of interest, but the work is of too great importance to be dismissed in the few lines which just now are all which we can possibly devote to it. It comprises no less than eight choruses, together with recitatives and airs for soprano and bass voices, and more than one orchestral interlude, as striking and characteristic as the rest. In certain parts of the cantata the young composer has employed the strange intervals which distinguish the Oriental, and especially the Turkish and Egyptian, styles of melody. He has done this, moreover, with eminent success, because he has done it in such a way that genuine music is never kept out of mind. From the brief orchestral introduction, which ushers in the opening chorus of sailors, to the end there is always something to invite attention; and, in fact, hardly one of the ten “numbers” into which the cantata is divided can be set aside as unworthy special notice. Mr. Sullivan himself conducted the performance, which was received with high favour, and, what is more, thoroughly deserved it. The solos were allotted to Madame Lemmens-Sherrington and Mr. Winn.
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