By JOAN NEWTON
RADIO and TV. Over the Christmas holidays there was so much to look at and to listen to that it is almost impossible to give even the best programmes much attention in this week's column.
On radio there have been many beautiful musical and religious programmes. Last Sunday, for instance, on the Home, the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra with the B.B.C. Chorus gave us a lovely rendering of "The Childhood of Christ"' by Berlioz. This trilogy has been played at Christmas time for several years row and has become part of Christmas for many radio-listeners.
That applies, also, to Handel's " Messiah," which is always to be heard at C:hristmas time and which, this year, was partly played on television — very effectively, too, as music is difficult to present to viewers.
Then I. personally, was delighted to hear again the whole of Ravers " L'Enfant et let Sortileges " on the Third Programme on Boxing Day. This rather sentimental tale by Colette about a destructive and disobedient child is, I find, altogether delightful to listen to, but it is, I know, not everyone's cup of tea.
The Sunday before Christmas, on the Home, Fr. Purdy gave us a
really beautiful meditation in preparation for Christmas in " The Way of Life Series." This programme was called "Noel," and I do hope many of you heard it. Beauty was the keynote of the whole programme. Beautiful music, beautiful poetry. and beautiful voices — those of June 'Tobin, James McKechnie and Deryck Guyler — altogether made up an unforgettable combination.
wily TV ONLY?
THOUGH it is a great privilege to be able to watch Midnight Mass on the television, 1 do think it is a 3hame that there is no longer a broadcast of this ceremony on the sound radio every year. I should imagine that many more Catholic families are without television sets than without radios, and I do hope that Midnight Mass will be restored to the air in future years for them.
All the same, the singing and presentation from the Oratory. Birmingham, of this year's Midnight Mass were very good and Fr. Patrick Mcflnroe's commentary was just right. he Abbot of Downside appeared again last Sunday on T.V., this time in the B.B.C:s religious programme " Meeting Point" at seven o'clock. He was teamed up with Canon Raven, John Arlott and Professor Roger Wilson.
He was, as ever, very learned and decisive — he had to he. especially over a question about the Virgin Birth. He was well supported by John Arlott, who seems to he a thorough Christian. I am afraid, though, that the Abbot's answers may have been over the heads of some of his audience.
A PART from the various ' religious programmes, the Queen's Speech was the most interesting event of Christmas Day. The Queen, herself, and her message were wonderful, and she is to he admired for the way she carried off what must have been a very difficult task.
What went before her message both on the radio and thc television I thought dreary beyond belief. We have had these programmes leading up to the royal message year after year — all of them very like the other.
Could we not have something new next year ? I am tired of all these backward glances, and I thought atm sound of air-raid sirens on Christmas Day, on both air and vision, were the last straw.
There is not time to comment on the other TV programmes. I can only remember that there were several old films containing two diphtheria epidemics and a lot of brutal boxing In Patricia Foy's " Music For You " programme, however, Bernard Miles gave us a gorgeous potted version of Wagner's "Tristian arid 'snide," which was enough to cheer us up for a week.