20 FEBRUARY 1953, Page 14


Apollo Society Recital. (Recital Room, Royal Festival Hall.) Ti-man are thousands of poems in the English language, yet in every programme of spoken poetry the same ones always crop up ; one can rely on either the coy mistress or the mistress going to bed. This recital was no exception, but it was good to find some Crabbe for a change, and how succulent was Christopher Hassall's evocation of poor Miss Moss who was too genteel to eat boiled beef. "The Pied Piper," shared by two readers, deservedly broke the no- applause rule, for audiences like nothing better than to rediscover a poem which they have studied at school and thought they had forgotten. Although she is sometimes unpredictable, Catherine Lacey has a wide range ; she gave a tragic sonority to the" Song of Deborah "and read " Little Lamb, who made thee ? "without the least sentimentality. Christopher Hassall, whether dealing with Quarles or Carroll, held the balance between reading and acting as brilliantly and wittily as ever. Joan Davies, replacing Kathleen Long, attacked her music well, and it was a pity that interludes of coughing from the audience spoilt the exciting juxtaposition of piano and voice, particularly in the case of Granados and Browning.

Two more recitals are to be held in this series, and on May 31st the Festival Hall proper is to be used for spoken poetry for the first time, when Peggy Ashcroft, George Rylands and John Gielgud will take part in a programme entitled "The Four Queens of England." Mr. C. Day Lewis has been commissioned to write a poem specially for this occasion. It is to be called " The Coronal."

M. C.