Elgar Pilgrimage: Connections and Inspirations

 

  • Elgar- Menuhin-Sitkovetsky: The ESO’s history with Elgar includes a long association with Yehudi Menuhin as Principal Guest Conductor. Menuhin’s iconic recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto under the composer’s baton when he was just fifteen-years-old, is one of the most enduringly important in the history of recorded music. The ESO celebrate Menuhin’s contributions to the ESO’s Elgar legacy in 2015 with a performance of the Violin Concerto by one of Menuhin’s last protégés, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky.

 

US-born British violinist Sir Yehudi Menuhin (1916 - 1999) and English composer Sir Edward Elgar (1857 - 1934) outside HMV's Abbey Road studios in 1933

Yehudi Menuhin and Edward Elgar at Abbey Road in 1933

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Young Alexander Sitkovetsky on stage with mentor Yehudi Menuhin, former Principal Guest Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra

  • Elgar-Boult- Fraser: Guest composer, Donald Fraser, who lived for many years in Elgar’s home at Brinkwells, where Elgar wrote both the Piano Quintet and made his transcription of the Bach Fantasia and Fugue, was a conducting pupil of Adrian Boult, one of Elgar’s closest friends and most important interpreters.
Edward Elgar and Adrian Boult at Abbey Road, 1932

Edward Elgar and Adrian Boult at Abbey Road, 1934

  • Boughton-Handley- Woods: Kenneth Woods, ESO Principal Conductor since 2013 is, like his predecessors, a passionate advocate for the music of Elgar. The ESO’s founder, William Boughton, recorded most of Elgar’s orchestral output with the orchestra, while Tod Handley, a student of Adrian Boult and Principal Conductor of the ESO from 2007-8, is widely considered one of the most important Elgar interpreters of all time.
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Vernon Handley conducting the ESO at the 2007 Elgar Festival

 

  • Brahms- Elgar- Sawyers: Brahms music was a huge formative influence on Elgar, shaped during the Englishman’s pilgrimage to Leipzig in 1882 where he immersed himself in the music of Brahms and Schumann. Elgar’s musical roots in Central European and German music, including Mahler, are shared with the ESO’s newly-aapointed composer-in-association, Philip Sawyers.
Conductor Kenneth Woods and composer Donald Fraser at Abbey Road studios for the world premiere recording of Sea Pictures

Conductor Kenneth Woods and composer Donald Fraser at Abbey Road studios for the world premiere recording of Sea Pictures