One of the most interesting records lately issued is the Fantasia on a theme by Tallis, a well-known composition of Dr. Vaughan Williams and first performed in 1910. It is laid out for a double string orchestra, and the Boyd Neel String Orchestra gives an admirable performance. (Decca, K 815/6.) The tune on which the Fantasia is based was written by Thomas Tallis who was employed in the reign of Elizabeth in setting to music a metrical version of the Psalms.
The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra contribute a fine recording of the Overture to the Bat, by Johann Strauss: C A 8228.
Lovers of Mozart's chamber music will be delighted with the records of • his Quartet in D, made by the Prisca Quartet, D E 7056-9. It is quite an ambitious work and the tone of the strings is pure and wellbalanced throughout.
Finally Viorica Ursuleac is heard in two airs from Puccini, the State Opera Orchestra being conducted by Clemens Krauss : CA 8227.
C. G. M.
God Save the King: An Italian Air?
They are saying that the air of "God Save the King" is of Italian origin. According to this theory the composer was a certain John Baptist Lulli and the tune was in common use in France in the 17th century. Whether this theory can be used by Mr. Eden to patch up the ancient friendship between Italy and Britain is doubtful. Yet whenever we sing it we are surely breaking the spirit of the imposition of sanctions. There is another view, however, that it was composed by Henry Carey in 1741 and used for the first time to Celebrate an English victory over Spain.