After his wife’s death in 1920, Elgar composed little of significance for many years. In his twilight years,
he was encouraged by friends to return to the composition of more substantial works and, in 1930,
composed three in quick succession:
- The first of these was The Severn Suite which, after protectracted negotiations with Herbert
Whiteley, a leading figure in the British brass band movement, Elgar agreed to compose as a
test piece for the National Brass Band Championships. Elgar was obviously sufficiently pleased
with the outcome to orchestrate the work the following year but his publishers Keith Prowse
never issued it in full score.
- The second work, on which he had started composition before with The Severn Suite and
completed the two works in parallel, was the fifth Pomp and Circumstance, honouring a
commitment to Boosey to provide a set of six marches.
- The third work, which Elgar composed in the latter months of 1930, was the Nursery Suite.
Elgar claimed to have rediscovered a bundle of his youthful compositions, from which he was
encouraged by a member of his recording company HMV (no doubt thinking of a potential
recording) to turn into a suite similar in style to the Wand of Youth suites from some 25 years
In the event, Elgar recorded all three works for HMV and the first two have since entered the mainstream
repertoire, but Nursery Suite lacked the inspiration of The Wand of Youth and its popularity has languished.
The fifth Pomp and Circumstance March will appear in Volume 29 of the Complete Edition, to be
published later in 2020, but this volume, edited by conductor David Lloyd-Jones, contains, in their
orchestral forms, the first and third of the above works, published by Keith Prowse as part of Elgar’s
contractual commitment to provide them with three new compositions a year.
The volume, which comes complete with the customary apparatus of detailed source descriptions,
commentaries and an introductory foreword, and is dedicated to Paul Adrian Rooke, the Complete
Edition’s long-serving Chief Originator who died in November, 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 IV : Orchestral Works
- Publication date : 20 February 2020
- Publisher : Elgar Works
- ISBN : 978-1-904856-26-9 (hardback)
- Editor : David Lloyd-Jones
- Number of pages : xxxii + 176
- Page size : 350 mm x 250 mm (portrait)
- Number of illustrations : 6 (monochrome)
- Binding : cloth (hardback)
- Contents :
- The complete full scores, re-originated in their entirety, of The Severn Suite and Nursery Suite in their versions for full orchestra;
- 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 works' development.