Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Elgar's Rondo

Composer Edward Elgar struggles to overcome doubts and fears following the premiere of his second symphony. Friends endeavour to help him re-ignite his creative spark. The reaction to this work, and the Rondo in particular, only heightens the doubts and fears which plague him for much of his creative life.

Later, while struggling to express in music the horror of the First World War, his family and admirers endeavour to help him re-ignite his creative spark.

The second in a season of plays by veteran radio dramatist David Pownall, Elgar's Rondo was first broadcast in June 2007.

Elgar ..... David Horovitch
Alice ..... Sarah Badel
Jaeger/George V ..... Robert Glenister
Windflower ..... Emma Fielding
Schuster ..... Ian Masters
Carice/Mother/Cellist ..... Clare Corbett
Bernard Shaw ..... Gerard Murphy
Mark/Father ..... Harry Myers
Father John ..... Carl Prekopp
Bandmaster ..... John Evitts
Paul Hooker ..... Robert Lister

Directed by Martin Jenkins

In an English country garden Elgar is hiding away from failure, heartbroken by the bad reception given to his second symphony. Only three years earlier he had been hailed as England's answer to Beethoven and loaded with honours. Although the piano-tuner's son is now famous, knighted and wealthy, he cannot rise above criticism of the one piece of music he has written that is most detectably him. He receives sympathy from every quarter - his wife, his ghosts, his dream-woman, his priest, his friends, even his king.

The guns in Flanders can be heard in the Sussex garden but Elgar cannot respond. He refuses to go through the sufferings and mental dangers that being a creative artist expose him to. He wants to be himself first and a servant of music's terrible duty second. Taking this choice, he imagines he will be free from pain - but the muse knows better.

Release date:

1 hour, 45 minutes

Last on

Sun 9 Jun 2013 20:15

Binaural sound: doing the best for Beckett

Sir Ian McKellen and Carl Prekopp with the musicians from Words and Music

How immersive technology brings Beckett's radio plays to life.