Elgar Complete Edition

Volume 2b
Accompanied Part-songs; Pageant of Empire

Having published Elgar�s unaccompanied part-songs in June 2014, the Elgar Complete Edition is pleased to announce the publication of a volume containing Elgar�s accompanied part-songs, together with the first collated edition of Elgar�s songs for the Pageant of Empire. Originally to have also included the set of part-songs From the Bavarian Highlands, the wealth of additional material unearthed during the editing of the volume forced us to revise our plans as the total page count threatened to exceed 600 pages. From the Bavarian Highlands will now be published as a separate Volume 2a in the autumn.

    The two volumes have proved unexpectedly challenging for all of us. Overlapping arrangements did not show the consistency logic would suggest. For example, the arrangement of Spanish Serenade for SATB and piano was also intended to fill the role of vocal score for performances of the work with orchestral accompaniment, and yet the vocal parts of the two published scores show numerous detailed differences presumably not intended by Elgar. Unravelling the three published versions of The Snow and Fly, Singing Bird proved even more complex. The articulation of the violin parts was revised after publication in 1894 of the version for SSC, 2 violins and piano, with the revisions appearing, but with variations, in later printings of all versions. And the set of Bavarian Highlands songs presented yet other difficulties, a tailing off in the detailed articulation suggests that Elgar never got round to completing the minutiae in the final passages, one reason for delaying its publication to the later volume as it gives us a little more time to decipher Elgar�s intentions.

    But this is of course meat and drink to all academic editions. What will interest the average Elgarian more is the plethora of scores now published for the first time, including the piano arrangement of Queen Alexandra�s Memorial Ode; forgotten arrangements, primarily for two female voices, of Spanish Serenade, The Snow and Fly, Singing Bird; an SATB arrangement of The Birthright; the �lost� words to three Pageant of Empire songs: �Gloriana�, �Indian Dawn� and �Cape of Good Hope�; and Elgar�s four obbligati to popular songs of the 1870s-1880s, now set for the first time against the songs they were intended to accompany. One of the latter - Alice, where art thou?, which Elgar arranged in 1878 so the occurrence of �Alice� in the title is coincidental - will be familiar to many as the title music for the BBC-TV series Open All Hours. But none will know Bicycling Solus, a fragmentary jape not unlike The Smoking Cantata which Elgar wrote, probably for Troyte Griffith, on the flyleaf of a Kelly�s 1896 Directory for Worcestershire spotted in the window of Bygones of Worcester during the 2014 Three Choirs Festival. Few other Complete Edition volumes can offer such a treasure trove of Elgar rarities clamouring to be heard.

    The volume, which comes complete with the customary apparatus of detailed source descriptions, commentaries and an introductory foreword, can be obtained through all good book stores and specialist music shops, or directly from the publisher. For details, visit the How to Purchase page.

Series I : Choral Works

Publication History

  • Publication date : 14 July 2016
  • Publisher : Elgar Works
  • ISBN : 978-1-904856-44-3 (hardback)

Detailed Description

  • Editor : Donald Hunt
  • Number of pages : xxvi + 316
  • Page size : 350 mm x 250 mm (portrait)
  • Binding : cloth (hardback)
  • Number of illustrations : 10 (monochrome)
  • Contents :
    • The complete full scores, re-originated in their entirety, of:
      • Elgar's three early choral songs:
        • Spanish Serenade (Stars of the Summer Night):
          • in its original version SATB chorus with orchestral accompaniment;
          • and its later (1912) arrangement for SS chorus with accompaniment for two violins and piano;
        • The Snow and Fly, Singing Bird:
          • both in their original version for SSA chorus with accompaniment for two violins and piano;
          • their later orchestral arrangements;
          • and Elgar's even later arrangement of both for SS chorus, two violins and piano
      • all surviving arrangements for solo voice or chorus, with piano or orchestral accompaniment, of Elgar's 11 songs for The Pageant of Empire:
        • 'The Heart of Canada';
        • 'The Blue Mountains';
        • 'Gloriana';
        • 'Indian Dawn';
        • 'Cape of Good Hope';
        • 'Shakespeare's Kingdom';
        • 'The Islands';
        • 'Merchant Adventurers';
        • 'Sailing Westward';
        • 'The Immortal Legions';
        • 'A Song of Union';
      • A Christmas Greeting with accompaniment also for two violins and a piano, in its original version for SSTB and later arrangement for SS;
      • The Birthright in Elgar's arrangements for unison and SATB choruses, with accompaniments for both bugle/drums and piano;
      • Queen Alexandra's Memorial Ode (So Many true Princesses), with piano accompaniment;
    • An appendix containing all surviving sketches, drafts and fragments of Introductory overture and songs for Christy Minstrels, Air Songs, April, Ascher's Song, Jabberwocky, Love has turned his face away, Love lies a-dying, Now we stand above Love's Grave and Persephone;
    • A scholarly foreword recording the history of Elgar's composition of the works;
    • A comparative description of all known source material;
    • A comprehensive commentary detailing editorial decisions and amendments;
    • A range of facsimiles illustrating significant features of the work's development;
    • Composer's note recording the forces required;
    • The full libretti as printed in the vocal scores, with editorial amendments.

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