There are many reasons to love the English composer Edward Elgar: his fabulous moustache, the Enigma Variations, Pomp and Circumstance, several large-scale choral works, the very best cello concerto ever written and his fondness for bicycles, dogs and chemistry.
He was also exceptionally good at writing for a small choir like the Montague Choristers. The Monties, with conductor Philip Hartstein and accompanist William Hawkey, will perform the very best of these part-songs and motets in their Elgar and Friends concert at 2.30pm, Sunday, June 25 at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Bodalla.
Some of the songs are inspired by nature, some are settings of religious texts and famous poems and a number feature lyrics written by Elgar’s wife and constant muse, Alice.
The concert will finish with four of the Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands, inspired by a succession of holidays the Elgars spent in Southern Bavaria during the 1890s.
During the day, Edward and Alice walked and admired the Alpine scenery; in the evenings they visited a number of local hostelries where they heard songs and watched displays of folk dances of the region. Elgar was inspired to write some ‘folk songs’ of his own on his return to England. Alice Elgar provided the lyrics.
The beautiful stonework All Saints’ church in Bodalla provides the perfect venue for this concert: like most of the works on the program, it dates from the 1890s. It is also the perfect place to hear three pieces for solo organ by Elgar, Martin Howe and Walford Davies, performed by the indomitable William Hawkey.
The concert is at 2.30 pm Sunday, June 25 at All Saints’ Anglican Church, Bodalla. Enquiries 4473 7541 or www.montaguechoristers.org