Composer Richard Arnell was born in London in 1917 during a Zeppelin raid during the Great War. His career spanned two continents including the United States. He wrote many works especially for the prolific conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Punch and the Child is based on the classic hand-puppet show Punch and Judy. The humour is violent and children love it. The ballet tells of a sad Victorian child at an English seaside resort who is fascinated by the puppet show. When a sudden storm appears, she takes shelter inside the puppeteer’s booth, where a living Punch doll suddenly appears.
Choreographer Serge Diaghilev visited London several times. On his second visit, he commissioned music from Lord Berners called The Triumph of Neptune. The story follows a sailor and a journalist who look through a magic telescope and see Fairyland. On their voyage there, they are shipwrecked by Neptune but then saved by Britannia.
Frederick Delius wrote two works called Dance Rhapsody. Number one was written in 1906, number 2 in 1916. The second rhapsody is shorter in length from the first and requires fewer players from the orchestra (30 as opposed to 100 of the first).
This music will be featured on this week’s An English Pastorale, Sunday at 9 am.
Richard Arnell – Punch and the Child, Op. 49
Lord Berners – The Triumph of Neptune Suite
Frederick Delius – Dance Rhapsody No. 2
Enjoy a bit of a traditional Punch and Judy performance: