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Edward Elgar (1857-1934)


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Author Topic: Edward Elgar (1857-1934)  (Read 124 times)
Albion
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« on: June 10, 2022, 03:38:45 pm »

Troubled genius or pompous old ....? My vote is certainly for the former - as early as The Snow (1894), King Olaf (1896) and Caractacus (1898) there is sheer emotional depth on display, not to mention when we get to Gerontius (1900), The Apostles (1903), the symphonies (1908 and 1911) and The Music Makers (1913). An orchestral wizard from the word go, he kicked musical England firmly into the upper echelon...

 ;)
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2022, 03:51:56 pm »


I think he was both. I don't believe that the two conditions are mutually exclusive! ;D

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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2022, 03:58:30 pm »


In the case of Annus Horribilis they certainly are...

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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2022, 04:05:57 pm »


While opining that Elgar was both, I think 'certain persons' can be one or the other! :-X
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2022, 04:35:09 pm »

Putting aside the quite splendid realisation of No.3 by Anthony Payne, which of the Elgar symphonies do you regard as his finest achievement in the genre? My vote is for No.1, simply because I think that the otherwise magical No.2 is frankly let down by its finale which seems to plod along and then simply fizzle out. Both scores are, of course, majestically orchestrated and in certain places out-do Richard Strauss in the doubling of lines which weave in and out of the texture, and both have so many memorable moments, but for me the thrilling conclusion of No.1 clinches it...

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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2022, 04:55:48 pm »


I agree. As you say, there are magical moments in number two, not least the oboe's tragic meanderings in the slow movement and the shattering climaxes of the Rondo, but all in all, the A-flat symphony is more tightly organised and cogent. Hans Richter thought it worthy to stand beside the symphonies of Brahms and who are we to disagree with him?
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2022, 07:27:06 pm »


I think that No.3 (1933-) is also very special, and the achievement of Anthony Payne in finally bringing it to completion is quite staggering. The only controvery is the very ending with that gong-stroke: anyone who hasn't heard it should hasten and purchase one of the several excellent recordings...

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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2022, 07:47:21 pm »

Again, I agree. Personally, I find the gong stroke convincing. It's symbolic.

Me too! The fragments that Elgar left, including a full orchestral score of the very opening, show that he was still inspired - but, alas, the flesh was not willing. The use of music from the earlier King Arthur incidental music may strike some as out-of-place, but I'm on-board...
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2022, 07:56:09 pm »

Again, I agree. Personally, I find the gong stroke convincing. It's symbolic.

Me too! The fragments that Elgar left, including a full orchestral score of the very opening, show that he was still inspired - but, alas, the flesh was not willing. The use of music from the earlier King Arthur incidental music may strike some as out-of-place, but I'm on-board...

It always seems to me a shame that he divided his last years between the 3rd Symphony and The Spanish Lady. If he'd concentrated on one to the exclusion of the other we may have had one more compete score from him (preferably, the symphony).
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2022, 08:00:38 pm »

Again, I agree. Personally, I find the gong stroke convincing. It's symbolic.

Me too! The fragments that Elgar left, including a full orchestral score of the very opening, show that he was still inspired - but, alas, the flesh was not willing. The use of music from the earlier King Arthur incidental music may strike some as out-of-place, but I'm on-board...

It always seems to me a shame that he divided his last years between the 3rd Symphony and The Spanish Lady. If he'd concentrated on one to the exclusion of the other we may have had one more compete score from him (preferably, the symphony).

Indeed!
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)

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