C Sqdn, 9th Battn R.T.R.
Jessie Mine: My time today has been taken up more or less by normal routine work… and this is too uninteresting to write about. But, by way of a little change, I have also been installing a couple of radio sets in the schloss for the benefit of the troops… Not a very exciting day really.
This evening… I have heard some music, via the radio. It was a B.B.C. symphony concert and the programme included Beethoven’s first symphony, Delius’s ‘Paris’, and Dvorak’s Cello concerto…It was the latter work I was most anxious to hear – having been looking forward to it ever since we received the Radio Times last Saturday. It is years since I heard a ‘cello concerto, and at that time I was hardly impressed at all, in spite of the fact that the work was the celebrated concerto for two ‘cellos by Brahms. It was difficult to distinguish the solo instruments, and I decided that the ‘cello was hardly suitable for a concerto, not being sufficiently individualistic. But that was a long time ago… Last evening I was forced to change my mind somewhat – due to what you may call a coincidence.
I twiddled the knobs of the radio set, and soon found a very fine orchestra playing what sounded like a symphony: it was a lovely work… and especially thrilling because I had never heard it before – and had no idea of the composer. It soon became obvious that I was listening to a ‘cello concerto:- and when it was over, I realised that I had heard part of the first, and all of the second and third, movements. I liked it very much, and so became eager to hear tonight’s ‘cello concerto by Dvorak…
Well… would you believe it, Jess – it turned out that both concertos were the same-! But… and this I can’t explain… I did not enjoy it quite as much this evening. I can only suggest that the transmission was to blame. Last evening, I was listening to a powerful station with no fading or distortion… it may have been Leipzig or some other German station – whereas tonight, I was listening to a direct transmission from England – and we don’t receive English stations very well here – not on our mess receiver anyhow. All the same, I can honestly say that I like Dvorak’s cello concerto… not wholeheartedly as for instance Sibelius’ 2nd Symp, or Tchaikovsky’s 5th… but sufficiently well to make a point of hearing it again at a Halle concert – as I hope to do someday.
I can’t say a lot about Delius’ ‘Paris’: it was certainly better than I expected, but, to me, not satisfying. I can’t assimilate the disorder of works of this type.
I have no more to say just now, darling. Oh… one little point… I have been wondering for some time whether you have had any more trouble with that nasty double tooth of Barry’s. Has it come through yet? Please let me know.
Good night, my love