Elgar Complete Edition

Volume 14
Solo Songs with Orchestra

The Elgar Society Edition Ltd is pleased to announce the publication of the 24th volume in the Elgar Complete Edition - Volume 14: Solo Songs with Orchestra. With an official publication date of 1 October 2012, we expect to take delivery of the volume early in the last week of September. Elgar's solo songs are not among his best known or best loved works and yet, among those for which he provided an orchestral accompaniment, there is a song cycle of world renown: Sea Pictures. In view of the significance of the cycle in Elgar's output and her close association with the work, the volume has been dedicated to Dame Janet Baker.

     Considering the popularity of Sea Pictures, his first venture into the genre, it is surprising that Elgar did not attempt to repeat his success with further song cycles. As the volume shows, he abandoned the two subsequent song cycles he embarked upon - those of Op.59 and Op.60 - when both were only half complete, and two of his stand-alone orchestral songs - Follow the Colours and The Kingsway - rank among those which many feel are better left unheard. And yet one of the other two completed songs which make up the volume is the moodily dramatic The Wind at Dawn, his earliest setting of words by his wife Alice and, again in the views of many, arguably his best.

     One noticeable absentee from the volume is Elgar's consummately restrained setting of Arthur Salmon's poem Pleading. Published first in 1908 an arrangement for voice and piano, it has long been believed that Elgar added an orchestral accompaniment later the same year. But in the course of editing this volume, it became apparent that Elgar intended his later arrangement to be performed as a song without words, an orchestral miniature akin to his Three Bavarian Dances (which will thus appear in Vol.23). A further discovery in the course of editing was the autograph score of the orchestral arrangement of Follow the Colours, finally removing a long-held uncertainty that the orchestral accompaniment might not be Elgar's own.

     The volume is completed by the novelty `Smoking Cantata', which claims to be written for a cast of thousands including a `Grand Chorus of Repentent Smokers' but in fact contains a vocal line only for Elgar's friend and host Edward Speyer; together with all known surviving fragments of three unfinished songs, two of which - Ozymandias and Callicles - clearly engaged Elgar's sporadic attention over many years, leaving us with two incomplete settings of each. Edited by Emeritus Professor Julian Rushton, the volume also contains the customary academic apparatus of detailed source descriptions, commentaries and an introductory foreword. Another volume containing more than its fair share of fascinations for the academic, the performer and for those who simply enjoy Elgar's music, it comes complete with the customary apparatus of detailed source descriptions, commentaries and an introductory foreword, and 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 II : Solo Vocal Works

Publication History

  • Publication date : 1 October 2012
  • Publisher : Elgar Works
  • ISBN : 978-1-904856-14-6 (hardback)

Detailed Description

  • Editor : Julian Rushton
  • Number of pages : xx + 260
  • Page size : 350 mm x 250 mm (portrait)
  • Binding : cloth (hardback)
  • Number of illustrations : 5 (monochrome)
  • Contents :
    • The complete full scores, re-originated in their entirety, of :
      • the song-cycle Sea Pictures, comprising Sea Slumber Song', 'In Haven', 'Sabbath Morning at Sea', 'Where Corals Lie' and 'The Swimmer';
      • the completed songs of the song-cycles Op.59 ('O, soft was the song', 'Was it some golden star' and 'Twilight') and )p.60 ('The Torch' and 'The River');
      • 'The Wind at Dawn', 'The Pipes of Pan', 'Follow the Colours' (Marching Song) and 'The Kingsway' (set to the trio from Pomp and Circumstance March No.4);
    • An appendix containing all known sketches and fragments of three unfinished works for solo voice and orchestra : 'Callicles', 'Ozymandias' and 'Tarantella'
    • 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;
    • The full texts of the poems set by Elgar, with editorial amendments.

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