4. Meditation – Antimacassar
The London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Bernard Herrmann
Recorded at Barking Assembly Hall, June 19 1967
Welles Raises Kane
Liner Notes by Bernard Herrmann:
This musical frolic is a portrait of Orson Welles at the time of his creation of the films Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons. I had the privilege of composing the music for both films. Sometime later I decided to pay a musical tribute to Orson which resulted in this work. In it I have utilized many of the musical motives of the films, but here they are freely developed and not used in the manner employed in the films. It is Welles in his most hilarious mood and depicts his affinity with the “gay nineties”.
The work opens with a joyful overture based on material from Citizen Kane. This is followed by a series of variations on a favourite waltz of Orson’s – “Toujours ou jamais” by Waldteufel. The variations are subtitled “Serenade”, “Promenade”, “Flirtation”, and “Street Scene”. Then follows a ragtime entitled “The Saturday-Night Band Concert” and a Meditation – “Antimacassar”. The Theme and Variations, Ragtime and Meditation are based on The Magnificent Ambersons. We return to Citizen Kane for the Finale “Pursuit and Happiness” which is a furious ‘can-can’. The work was composed in 1942 and received its first performance at a New York Philharmonic concert conducted by the composer. Shortly after Sir Thomas Beecham gave it with the CBS Symphony.