Worcestershire will soon be alive with the sound of music as the 2019 Elgar Festival returns to the Land of Hope and Glory.
The annual four-day music festival will be held from 30 May to 2 June and will celebrate the music and life of one of Britain’s greatest composers and Worcestershire native, Sir Edward Elgar.
Held during the weekend closest to his birthday (2 June), the festival’s theme will be ‘Elgar for Everyone’ which aims to engage those of all ages and backgrounds in the music and legacy of Worcestershire’s greatest son.
As well as a variety of concerts and musical performances, there will be engaging educational workshops, talks, poetry readings, a new Elgar Route, a Cello Day for families and young players and even the opportunity to play one of the composer’s own pianos!
The festival will be headlined by leading international cellist, Raphael Wallfisch and the English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) under Conductor, Kenneth Woods. He will showcase the Cello Concerto as part of a gala concert in Worcester Cathedral to mark the centenary of the composer’s final masterwork.
Elgar’s Cello Concerto was conceived during the dark years of the First World War as the composer – then sixty – recuperated from a painful operation to have his tonsils removed.
During his final illness in 1933, Elgar hummed the concerto’s theme to a friend and said: “If ever, after I’m dead, you hear someone whistling this tune on the Malvern Hills, don’t be alarmed. It’s only me.”
Kenneth Woods, Elgar Festival Artistic Director, said: “Every once in a while, we need to step back from a very popular work like the Cello Concerto and remind ourselves why it resonates so deeply with so many millions of listeners. Elgar’s Cello Concerto was my pathway into the world of this great composer whose music has had such a profound influence on my life.
“From my first encounter with it as a young cellist in America, it cast a spell over me, and after all the times I’ve since played it, heard it and conducted it, its power and honesty continues to amaze me.
“To conduct the 100th Anniversary performance of this beloved work in Elgar’s hometown with Raphael, in the shadow of the Malvern Hills, whose profile helped inspire the work’s opening melody, is more than a dream come true.”
The gala evening on Saturday, 1 June, will also see a first-time collaboration between the English Symphony Orchestra and Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir, for Donald Fraser’s acclaimed choral arrangement of Elgar’s ‘Sea Pictures’, and Vaughan Williams’s beautiful visionary Symphony No.5.
The Elgar Route will be re-launched at 2019 Elgar Festival. Find out more here.
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