Two Elegiac Pieces [Edward Elgar] (2010)
Arrangements of Edward Elgar’s Elegy and Sospiri
fl, cl, pno, vln, vla, vcl
fp. 13 November 2013; Aberdeen University Contemporary Music Group, Phillip Cooke, King’s College Chapel, Aberdeen
Two Elegiac Pieces are arrangements of two short pieces for string orchestra by Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934). The two pieces are Elegy (op. 58, 1909) and Sospiri (op. 70, 1914), two relatively less well known pieces of Elgar’s, especially when you consider the scale and success of the other string orchestra works such as the Serenade and the Introduction and Allegro. I was attracted to these works by the Barbirolli recording on EMI (which includes the more famous works) which gives wonderfully sonorous, romantic interpretations of the pieces in full orchestral sound. I decided the pieces would work well together in an arrangement for small chamber ensemble, with the addition of woodwind and piano moving them away from the original string sonorities. The first work Elegy is a mixture of the Elgar with some of the more ‘mannerist’ tendencies of my own instrumental writing, whilst Sospiri is my attempt to transcribe and notate the Barbirolli version of the work, rather than the actual score. In doing this, a yearning quality is hopefully evident within the rhythmic irregularities.