Sunday, 9 January 2011

Edward Elgar Concert at New Brighton, 1899

I was looking across the Mersey the other day from Liverpool towards New Brighton. At the back of my mind I recalled that Edward Elgar had conducted a concert dedicated to his music at Concert Hall in the New Brighton Tower. A little research turned up three reviews of the concert that are worthy of reflection. I will post them over the next few days.
The concert consisted of:-
Imperial March, Op.32 (1897)
Serenade for Strings, Op, 20, (1888)
Enigma Variations, Op.36 (1899) – this was performed with the ‘original’ ending.
'As a Spirit didst Thou pass’, from The Light of Life, Op,29 (1896)
‘And King Olaf heard the cry,’ from King Olaf, Op.30 (1896)
Triumphal March from Caractacus Op. 35 (1898)
Three Characteristic Pieces for orchestra (Mazurka, Serenade Mauresque and Contrasts: the Gavotte, A.D. 1700 and 1900), Op.10 (1882, revised 1899)

The concert was announced in the Liverpool Mercury:-
"Although a young man, Mr. Edward Elgar has written much music, his compositions embracing an overture, Froissart, an organ sonata, a Suite which is named ‘The Bavarian Highlands’, and cantatas which bear the titles of The Black Knight, King Olaf, and The Banner of St George. [1]
More recently he has written a dramatic cantata called Caractacus, [2] which was at the time of its production at the Leeds Festival [3] noticed with eulogy in the ‘Mercury.’ Tomorrow’s programme of the concert at New Brighton Tower is to be exclusively occupied by lighter works of his origination, and he is to direct the performance of them. Mr. Elgar represents the highest hopes of those who seek the further elevation of England in the art of his espousal."
The Liverpool Mercury July 15 1899, with minor edits.

[1] Froissart, Op.19 was composed in 1890; The Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands, Op.27 was dated 1895; The Black Knight, Op.25, 1892; Scenes from King Olaf, Op. 30, 1896; The Banner of St. George, Op.33, 1897.
[2] Caractacus, Op.35 1898
[3] Leeds Town Hall October 5, 1898

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