Elgar in Sussex
Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84
Felicity Lott (soprano) & Joseph Middleton (piano)
Three Movements for Piano Trio
Gould Piano Trio
Escaping London towards the end of the Great War, Elgar found a haven and inspiration in the countryside of Sussex. On this disc, musicians associated with Champs Hill - a short distance away from Elgar's retreat at 'Brinkwells' - celebrate the period which became one of the happiest times of Elgar's life.
The Schubert Ensemble perform Elgar's Piano Quintet in A Minor. This elegiac Quintet with its substantial slow movement is a record of his time in Sussex. Infused with the atmosphere of the surrounding countryside, it - while of its time - transcends the war.
Despite Elgar's declaration that he was "not a song writer", a number of his songs stand comparison with the very best of the English song repertoire. Dame Felicity Lott, accompanied by Joseph Middleton, sings a variety of Elgar's most noted songs. Included in this selection of seven songs are Pleading and Is She not Passing Fair?, the texts for both of which contain a mixture of the nostalgia and whimsy which attracted Elgar in the first place, and inspired his melodies which linger in the mind.
In 2007, the composer Paul Adrian Rooke was commissioned to complete Elgar's unfinished Three Movements for Piano Trio, newly recorded here by the Gould Piano Trio. Elgar left the first of these three Movements in fragmentary form, and unfortunately little is known of its origin. The second Movement is a Minuet and Trio, and was written by Elgar for a private performance with his friend Charles Buck and Buck's mother while staying at their home in Settle, Yorkshire. The third Movement, The March for the Grafton family, is a version for piano trio of Elgar's Empire March of 1924. While not written as a set, they can be effective, played consecutively.
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