Symphony No. 3 by Edward ElgarSir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. He also composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the Kings Musick in 1924.
Symphony No. 3 (Elgar/Payne)
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It's nearly four years since the premiere of his "elaboration" of Elgar's unfinished Third Symphony , but Anthony Payne still can't quite believe its runaway success. It's amazing how many Elgar-lovers there are round the world," he says in a bemused tone. But then fame of any sort would be bemusing to Anthony Payne. He has grown used to obscurity, punctuated now and then by the modest renown that is the best most contemporary composers can hope for: a premiere or two each year, a second performance or two, the odd broadcast, the odd CD. But with each premiere and broadcast, the reputation, and the circle of fans, has grown. It was a slow emergence largely because Payne was a late starter.
Elgar did not complete his Third Symphony before his death in February , but as was his compositional practice he produced numerous sketches for all four movements of the work as it developed. The surviving sketches range from short ideas only a few bars long to entire passages written in full score. According to remarks made by friends who heard Elgar play the symphony on the piano at home, it had reached an advanced stage of composition shortly before he died.
After all the heart-searching, the wrestling with consciences, here it is. No point now in worrying whether Elgar's death-bed wish - "don't let anyone tinker with it It has been done, a fait accompli. The spectre of the end of copyright in was the deciding factor - anyone can 'tinker' then and what might be the result? By doing so, he effectively undermined Carice Elgar Blake 's instruction, when she gave all the odd pages of the sketches to the British Museum now Library , that no one should work on them. And, as it happened, Elgar was wrong. Someone did understand.
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