Sunday, 12 November 2017

12th November 2017 Remembrance Sunday

"They are at rest" Edward Elgar (1857-1934)  Words by Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)

The following was  taken from Oxford Choral Classics sheet music.

Elgar is recognised, along with Parry and Stanford,  as one of the outstanding British composers of the period around 1900, and a leader of the so-called English Musical Renaissance, this was a rebirth of internationally significant composition in Britain after almost two centuries of relative insularity and mediocrity.  Choral music formed a significant part of Elgar's output, both on a large scale in his oratorios and cantatas and also in his fairly numerous smaller pieces.  Most of these were secular part-songs, but there is also a modest quantity of sacred music (Elgar was a Roman Catholic, and as such was not often invited or obliged to write for the Anglican Liturgy).

They are at rest described by the composer as an "elegy for unaccompanied chorus" was written at the peak of Elgar's artistic maturity in 1909. The occasion was a service at the Royal Mausoleum in Windsor commemorating the anniversary of Queen Victoria's death.  For its text Elgar turned to Cardinal Newman (whose poem The Dream of Gerontius had formed the basis of Elgar's great oratorio of 1900). The quiet, reverent dignity of the piece bears witness to the seriousness with which Elgar took the choral medium; and the wealth of detailed markings in the score indicates the importance he attached to meticulous and expressive performance.
Edward Elgar [Wikimedia Commons]

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