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By Diana McVeagh

'The new Diana McVeagh booklet on Elgar is first-rate,' wrote Gerald Finzi of her previous research of the composer, released in 1955. within the thoroughly new Elgar the tune Maker she harvests 5 a long time of ideas approximately his tune, scrutinizing the biographical info that experience considering that been stumbled on and utilizing them to evaluate the ways that they impact the compositions. Diana McVeagh explores Elgar's complicated character and his compositional tools, his variety and his courting to his contemporaries, but it's the song - nonetheless performed, recorded, enjoyed and mentioned up to ever- that continues to be her major concentration. every one of Elgar's works is mentioned, balancing details and appraisal, from his juvenilia to his unfinished 3rd Symphony. Diana McVeagh offers a compelling and obtainable spouse to the tune of 1 of England's maximum composers. Musicians, students and CD creditors alike will locate a lot to take pleasure in in Elgar the song Maker.

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Sample text

A. ’, properly closest to the original, Elgar gives his wife a two-bar link from the theme, an extra bar to move the second strain warmly into TO THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD 1899–1909 49 E flat, and a four-bar coda that brings together both B and A. Hers is the only variation in which the two strains overlap at the centre. B cadences on to E flat major instead of G minor, and rises largamente to passionate heights, under which A enters on brass. The first statement is threaded through with Elgar’s home-coming ‘whistle’ (triplets on oboes and bassoons).

But there are also pre-echoes of mature Elgar, of Pomp and Circumstance in the neat little march in Scene 2, and even of the Priest’s ‘Proficiscere’ from Gerontius in the solemn chords before the children die in Scene 4 at cue N. The weaknesses of The Black Knight include the sometimes senseless word-setting (‘son and daughter; and their faces [gap] Colourless grow utterly’), and the automatic sequences, hitched up by step, expedient rather than structural. But the cantata is compact, and the balance between the lyrical and the dramatic is just right.

The final scene, of Olaf’s mother the Abbess in her convent, is Longfellow. As in The Black Knight, the performers are anonymous, a company of Skalds, or Bards, who narrate the story. The tenor is Olaf, one soprano sings in 26 Elgar the Music Maker turn the three women, the bass takes both Ironbeard and the recitatives of the narrator. King Olaf at once shows an acute new feeling for atmosphere (it was Elgar’s first major work after hearing the complete Ring at Bayreuth in 1893). The brooding G minor opening is the essence of ‘wondrous’ and ‘ancient’: a falling melody with interlocking rising violas (Ex.

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