The wordsetting is often woodenly declamatory, though here one cannot wholly blame Smyth: she set the libretto in French, it was first sung in German, and the English text used here her own: lamentable, at times barely comprehensible was prepared a good deal later.
Worst of all, and most perplexingly for a composer who in other works seems so full of ideas, the melodic invention is weak. There's the jaunty main theme of the overture if you can't remember it try whistling the signature tune to ''Hancock's Half Hour'': they're close cousins and the more lyrical idea derived from it. The villagers have some effective, hymn-like counterpoint.
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Thirza's entrance music, curiously ornate and florid, is briefly striking, and her denunciation of the villagers, while they sing psalms off stage, makes one wonder whether Britten looked through a score of The Wreckers while preparing Peter Grimes. Avis the jealous bitch who reveals Thirza's 'treachery' has a pretty, almost French operetta song. Pascoe's Thirza's stiff-necked husband defence of the divine right to look on while men perish and then to profit from their deaths has a certain strength until you realize that it's an orchestral piece to which the vocal line is an irrelevant distraction.
Mark, Thirza's lover, has little to establish his character save a rather folky ballad with a peculiarly impenetrable text ''But even if to silence my pain thy token at length in the grave I prison it deep, at word from thy lips though 'twere softly spoken, at fall of thy step every charm would be broken''. The love music is grey, only fitfully rising to vociferous ardour.creatoranswers.com/modules/chatham/conocer-mujeres-pereira.php
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Many other pages consist either of characterless recitative or are so thin that, were there no evidence to the contrary, one would doubt whether Smyth was even a tolerably competent composer. The performance is serviceable, but with mostly lyric voices where heroic ones are ideally needed: Peter Sidhom as Pascoe gives the clearest indication that the work might seem stronger with Wagnerians in the major roles. Smyth's orchestration, on this evidence, is more often coarse than imaginative, and the chorus is sometimes disappointingly recessed.
Odaline de la Martinez's direction does all that enthusiasm and vigour can do for the piece, but I can't deny that I found it seriously disappointing, all the more so since Smyth's other works promise so much better.
If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information. Skip to main content. Composer or Director:. Ethel Mary Smyth. Magazine Review Date:. Media Format:. Catalogue Number:. Composition Artist Credits The Wreckers.
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