Monday, August 13, 2012

Music Monday: Elgar's Cello Concerto

Each Monday, I share a piece of music I really enjoy. This week, I've chosen Elgar's Cello Concerto.

Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Cello Concerto (1919)

This might have been more appropriate two weeks ago, as the Olympics were starting, rather than the day after the Closing Ceremony. But, I realized that I hadn't featured any English composers on the blog yet, so I figured now was as good a time as any.

Edward Elgar is a name that jumps out at me, not because I'm familiar with much of his music, but because he was a significant figure in Worcester, a city in the UK I had the opportunity to visit six years ago. He was born in the area, and there's a statue there memorializing him. Also, they've since changed the design, but his picture was on the twenty pound note at the time I was over there. While I was in Worcester, I got the impression that Elgar is something of a local hero there. He was, after all, arguably the first significant English composer in over a hundred years. And chances are, you're familiar with at least one of his instrumental works; the "Pomp and Circumstance" music played at graduation ceremonies is taken from one of Elgar's marches.

I mentioned last week that I'm partial to concerti, and the cello is one of my favorite instruments. That, combined with the passion behind this work, make it easily a new favorite, despite the fact that I just discovered it in the past couple weeks. This was Elgar's last major work, and was composed just after the end of the First World War. It reportedly represents an introspective look at death and mortality.

I found a promotional clip on YouTube that includes only the first couple minutes of the first movement. Now the whole thing is good, and I'm partial to the first and third movements myself, but I do have to say that the opening really is my favorite part of the entire work. So, I'm only embedding that first little bit. But, if you fall in love with it like I did, the whole concerto can be found here.

Thanks for reading my latest Music Monday, my little way of sharing something I'm passionate about while introducing you to music you may be unfamiliar with. Let me know if you've enjoyed it, and let me know if there's something out there you think I should listen to.

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