He wrote this endlessly adaptable original tune in 1898, and said it described his ‘sense of the loneliness of the artist’. Life on the whole was far from lonely for Elgar, however; he had a circle of close musical friends, and many are portrayed in his Engima Variations, right down to the dog who tumbles down the banks of the river Wye.
The Enigma Variations are played at the end of a bumper concert that opens with Benjamin Britten’s Ballad of Heroes, his impassioned musical stand against fascism, which predates his mighty War Requiem. Ryan Wigglesworth conducts the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales.
Prom 32 continues with a world premiere – the first cello concerto by another British composer, Brian Elias, commissioned by the BBC and written for the wonderfully fluid and intelligent cellist Natalie Clein.
‘Brian wanted to explore the lyrical qualities of the cello,’ says Natalie, ‘although there are virtuosic moments.’ Just as the identity of Nimrod puzzles music-lovers, so Elias has written something about the player herself into the piece, he says, and she has to find it. She may have to wait a little longer, however. Sadly, she is indisposed and unable to perform at the premiere, when the solo part will be played by the cellist Leonard Elschenbroich.
The concert also includes a short piece by Purcell, arranged by Elgar – who himself wrote
one of the greatest cello concertos.
|What||Prom 32: Elgar's Enigma Variations, Royal Albert Hall|
|Where||Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
On 09 Aug 17, 7:00 PM – 9:05 PM
|Price||£ 6 - £40|