I Allegro moderato, energico
II Andante, molto sostenuto - Poco allegretto - Tempo 1
III Allegro molto - Andante moderato - Allegro con spirito - Allegro molto-Presto
I have often been told that I am a 'romantic' composer as though that carried in these days some deprecatory significance. I have not the remotest idea of what is implied by that definitions, since the very wish to create is a romantic urge, and music the romantic art par excellence. So Music for Strings, in spite of its neutral title, is a romantic work, and it received its first performance in a romantic setting, the summer Salzberg Festival of 1935, when Adrian Boult conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert of British music. It was good to see Dr. Arnold Rosé, the leader of the famous Rosé Quartet, at the first desk, exercising his authority, standing up to correct the bowing throughout the whole violin section and muttering at times 'Schwer, Schwer - aber gut!'
Well it is a difficult work, written for virtuoso players, but after thirty years, technical proficiency has so grown that student orchestras of today now tackle Music for Strings without a qualm.
Afterwards I wrote to Trudy:
August 11th 1935
Well! the day has come and gone! I woke up early this morning, walked in the Mirabell Park, called on Adrian, and went over to the Mozarteum at 9:30 for the final rehearsal. It went well, with the players obviously enjoying the work. The concert took place at 11 am - a good audience, including Toscanini, Weingartner and Bruno Walter. Adrian was at the top of his form, and steered the difficult music through splendidly; - applause, which I acknowledged three times from the balcony. I wish you had been there, next time I shall take you, money or no. After the concert I rushed off up the funicular to the restaurant at the top, where I joined Adrian and some young friends of his. I was to have gone this evening to a grand ball at he Residenz, but had no dress clothes! No matter - instead, I went to a reception at the Princess Starhemberg - Viennese diplomats, archbishops, and other exalted what-nots - a scene from Lothair; afterwards to a Goëthe debauch - Faust, lasting from 7:30 to midnight. It was superb; I was as moved as Eckermann!
Tomorrow Adrian and I set off for Innsbruck for a week or ten days' tramp from hut to hut. I have got two chic little coats for you and a mass of silver buttons. Love to my hübschen liebchen!
© Sir Arthur Bliss