Elgar Complete Edition

Volume 13
Secular Part-Songs and Unison Songs

We are pleased to announce the publication in early June 2014 of Elgar Complete Edition Vol.13, the volume containing Elgar's Secular Part-songs and Unison Songs. It is edited by Donald Hunt, who has drawn on a wealth of practical experience gained over many years of conducting the songs it contains. It is a treasure trove of unfamiliar arrangements, some unpublished and one entirely unknown, but all Elgar's own. In their original versions, most of Elgar's part-songs have gained a sound foothold in the choral society repertoire and several � part-songs such as My love dwelt in a Northern Land, There is Sweet Music, Go, Song of Mine and As Torrents in Summer � are considered masterpieces of the genre. Although in his later years Elgar voiced the opinion that nobody wanted his music any more, his reputation among choral scoieties remained secure and several wrote to Novello suggesting that some of his more popular part-songs should be arranged for other forces, significantly for the female choirs then in the ascendency. Elgar responded readily to such requests, supplementing his income from recording projects and elsewhere with the worthwhile fees Novello were prepared to pay him for these arrangements. And Novello obviously found this a profitable business as they commissioned additional arrangements from him of their own volition.

     Although these arrangements were all published, they never supplanted the originals from which they were derived, so that such rareties as the Five Part-songs from the Greek Anthology in the arrangement for SATB and As Torrents in Summer as a two-part song for schools are now all but forgotten to all except Donald. But all are to be found in this volume which contains no less than 56 part-songs in Elgar's various arrangements, as listed overleaf.

     Not all choirs were content with an arrangement, however. In 1922 the enterprising trainer of a boys choir in Todmorden, Yorkshire wrote to the four leading British composers of the day, asking each to provide a 'rally cry' for the house within the choir named in their honour. Elgar was the last of the four to respond and his original manuscript, sent to the Yorkshire choirmaster, has never been seen. But the choirmaster was grateful enough to collate all four rally cries on a single sheet of paper, sending a copy to each contributor. Elgar's copy has long since been lost; but in researching for the Collected Corespondence edition, Martin Bird came across an image of the lost sheet in a microfilm of Birthplace originals deposited with the Worcestershire Record Office around 50 years ago, thus allowing the inclusion of Elgar's offering, his Solemn Fanfare, in this volume. At a mere 3 bars long, we are confident it will have little influence on his reputation as a composer, but it is a fascinating relic nevertheless.

     Another volume containing more than its fair share of fascinations for the academic, the performer and for those who simply enjoy Elgar's music, the volume also comes complete with the customary apparatus of detailed source descriptions, commentaries and an introductory foreword. It 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 : 6 June 2014
  • Publisher : Elgar Works
  • ISBN : 978-1-904856-13-9 (hardback)

Detailed Description

  • Editor : Donald Hunt
  • Number of pages : xxii + 290
  • Page size : 350 mm x 250 mm (portrait)
  • Binding : cloth (hardback)
  • Number of illustrations : 15 (monochrome)
  • Contents :
    • The complete full scores, re-originated in their entirety, of :
      • Three part-songs Op.18 ('O Happy eyes'; 'Love'; 'My love dwelt in a northern land');
      • the Five part-songs from the Greek Anthology Op.25 ('Yea, cast me from the heights'; 'Whether I find thee'; 'After many a dusty mile'; 'It's Oh to be a wild wind'; 'Feasting I watch');
      • >
      • Four Partsongs Op.53 ('There is sweet music'; 'Deep in my Soul'; 'O wild west wind'; 'Owls' (an epitaph));
      • Two Choral Songs Op.71 ('The Shower'; 'The Fountain');
      • Two Choral Songs Op.73 ('Love's Tempest'; 'Serenade');
      • 'As Torrents in Summer' from King Olaf Op.30;
      • 'The Herald', 'The Reveille', 'The Wanderer' and 'Zut Zut Zut' for male voices;
      • 'Death on the hills' Op.72; 'Evening Scene'; 'Go song of mine' Op.57; How Calmly the Evening'; 'The Prince of Sleep'; 'To her, beneath whose steadfast star'; 'Weary Wind of the West' and 'The Windlass Song' for mixed voices;
    • An appendix containing all known sketches, unfinished works and cycles:
      • In a Vineyard (suite) ('The Angelus (Tuscany)'; 'In a Vineyard'; 'Dance'; 'Vintage'; 'Envoi');
      • Six further partsongs from the Greek Anthology - 1 ('O Little Love'; 'Sea Dirge'; 'Didyme's Eyes'; 'Upon a Small Babe'; 'With Courage Seek the Kingdom of the Dead'; 'Eros, I Pray Thee');
      • Six further partsongs from the Greek Anthology - 2 ('A Pine, by Tempests Bruised'; 'A witching Smile'; 'To Hermes'; 'Peace, Wooded Crags'; 'Now the White Iris Blossoms'; 'Though I may Know Myself Mortal');
      • plus 'Ballata of True and False Singing'; 'Darkest Music'; '... Trumpets waken the dead'; 'Israfel'; 'It is not growing like a tree'; 'Loved when my love'; 'Mild is the Parting Year'; 'Night Night'; 'No Star Goes Down'; 'Seaweed'; 'The Two Ships'; 'Why so Pale and Wan'; 'The Wind Harp'; 'The Wounded Cupid';
    • 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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