Elgar Complete Edition

Volume 15
Solo Songs with Piano 1857-1900

Elgar Works is pleased to announce the imminent publication of a further volume in the Elgar Complete Edition - Volume 15: Solo Songs with Piano 1857-1900. With an official publication date of 2 June 2013, the volume has now been bound and is available for shipping.

Elgar's solo songs are not among his best known works and, as we have said before, there is a tendency to dismiss them as second-rate. That the latter is a consequence of the former - years of neglect leading to the false assumption that they are better left forgotten - is clearly demonstrated by this volume, and something it will hopefully help redress. Admittedly A War Song (first published as A Soldier's Song), ranks among the worst of Elgar's jingoistic pot-boilers; but alongside the world-renowned Sea Pictures are the songs thought good enough by Ascherberg to republish as the 7 Liederalbum (including four which composer Haydn Wood also thought good enough to arrange as orchestral miniatures); the powerful The Wind at Dawn, Elgar's first setting of words by his wife Alice; the delicate Dry those fair, those crystal eyes, which Elgar dashed off for the Charing Cross Hospital Bazaar; As I laye a-thynkynge, Elgar's setting of faux-medieval words of Robert Harris Barham, creator of the Ingoldsby Legends; and a number of other equally delightful songs.

For the scholar, however, the thrill of the volume surely lies in the discovery among the unpublished works and fragments of two songs - The Millwheel (Winter) and Muleteer's Serenade - previously thought lost, or possibly to have been left as fragmentary sketches which Elgar later incorporated into his cantata King Olaf. Locating the sketches among other preparatory material for King Olaf presented no difficulty; and as the editorial process rolled back the layers of history to get at the works intended for piano accompaniment, we discovered not half-finished sketches but two fully-formed songs. Alice's diaries hint at a private performance of one of the songs; a first public performance of both songs will be given at Elgar's Birthplace on 2 June, the composer's birthday.

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 II : Solo Vocal Works

Publication History

  • Publication date : 2 June 2013
  • Publisher : Elgar Works
  • ISBN : 978-1-904856-15-3 (hardback)

Detailed Description

  • Editor : Brian Trowell
  • Number of pages : xxii + 210
  • Page size : 350 mm x 250 mm (portrait)
  • Binding : cloth (hardback)
  • Number of illustrations : 18 (monochrome)
  • Contents :
    • The complete scores with piano accompaniment, re-originated in their entirety, of:
      • The song-cycle Sea Pictures: 'Sea Slumber Song', 'In Haven', 'Sabbath Morning at Sea', 'Where Corals Lie' and 'The Swimmer'
      • ;
      • The seven songs subsequently republished by Ascherberg as Edward Elgar's 7 Lieder: 'Like to the Damask Rose', 'The Poet's Life', 'Queen Mary's Song', 'A Song of Autumn', 'Through the Long Days', 'Rondel' and 'The Shepherd's Song'
      • ;
      • Four songs originally published in periodicals and other omnibus publications:
        • 'A Soldier's Song' (later republished as 'A War Song') and 'The Wind at Dawn', both originally published in The Magazine of Music and later republished by Boosey;
        • 'Love Alone will stay' ('Lute song'), the original version of 'In Haven', first published in the periodical The Dome;
        • Dry those fair,those crystal eyes, first published in the Souvenir of the Charing Cross Hospital Bazaar;
      • Five other published songs: 'Is she not passing fair?', 'As I Laye a-Thinking', 'After', 'A Song of flight' and 'The Pipes of Pan';
      • Five completed songs which remained unpublished in their original form at Elgar's death: 'The Language of Flowers', 'The Self-Banished', 'Rondel: The Little Eyes that Never Knew Light', 'Clapham Town End' and 'The Muleteer's Serenade';
      • An appendix containing four unfinished songs: 'If She Loves Me' (Temple Bar Rondeau) 'The Mill Wheel Songs', 'Ophelia's Song' and 'A Phylactery';
    • A scholarly foreword recording the history of Elgar's composition of the works, including an explanation of four songs commonly referred to as 'lost': 'Why so pale and Wan', 'Fair breaks the Spring', '1588 : Loose, loose the sails', 'A Spear, a sword' and 'The Wave';
    • The full libretti of each poem or text set by Elgar, with editorial amendments;
    • A comparative description of all known source material;
    • A comprehensive commentary detailing editorial decisions and amendments.

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