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WORCESTER CONCERT TO FEATURE WORLD PREMIERE ELGAR PERFORMANCE

On Saturday 12 November, music lovers in Worcester will be in for a treat when a most unusual event, including a world premiere, is staged, providing a unique opportunity to hear performances of several rarely-heard works by the City’s favourite son Sir Edward Elgar. An evening concert in College Hall will be preceded by an afternoon of talks offering a unique insight into the music’s composition.

The day’s programme has been put together by Donald Hunt, former Worcester Cathedral organist and renowned expert on the music of Elgar.

The afternoon’s events, at St George’s RC Church Hall, Sansome Place, Worcester start at 2pm, and take the form of two lecture-recitals. The first, presented by Donald himself, focuses on Elgar’s glorious catalogue of songs for choir, songs which Donald has known and loved all his life. The second, presented by John Norris will unravel some of the mysteries surrounding the songs which Elgar composed expressly for the Pageant celebrating the official opening of Wembley Stadium.

An evening concert in College Hall, on College Green starts at 7.30pm and features the celebrated choir Elgar Voices, together with some specially invited guest artistes. The concert will feature many of the songs highlighted in the afternoon talks, including a complete performance of Elgar’s songs “From the Bavarian Highlands”. Donald said: “Elgar composed these songs, with lyrics by his wife, while on holiday in Bavaria during the early years of their marriage. Those holidays were probably the happiest Elgar ever had. He found he was able to relax and really enjoy himself in an informal atmosphere, and this joy really comes over in the music.”

The concert also marks Remembrance weekend with the inclusion of “With Proud Thanksgiving”, Elgar’s setting to music of Binyon’s war poems, composed for the unveiling of the Whitehall Cenotaph, and including the lines “They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old”.

And what of the World Premiere? Donald added “Well, it’s unlikely to replace the Enigma Variations or the Cello Concerto in our affections, but it is a premiere by one of the world’s great composers who just happened to be born right here in Worcester. All I will say is that it’s Elgar’s special arrangement of a Victorian song which got a new lease of life in the 1970s & 80s, and I can guarantee that many of you will recognise it.”

Ticket prices are £5 for the afternoon talks, (with discounts for Elgar Society members), and £12 for the evening concert. They will be available on the door, or can be reserved in advance from Richard Smith, tel: 01684 438358 or email: west.midlands@elgar.org