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A Fat Knight and a New King

Duration:
1 hour
First broadcast:
Thursday 20 June 2013

Celebrating British Music: Donald Macleod explores the life and work of the 'quintessentially English' composer, Edward Elgar, whose musical roots lay firmly in Europe, and whose Catholicism and class background bequeathed him a lifelong sense of isolation from mainstream British society.

Today's programme has a royal thread running through it. In 1911, Elgar was commissioned to write music for the coronation of George V. He fulfilled his commission but a last-minute bout of depression kept him, and his bemused wife and child, away from the ceremony, where they were to have been honoured guests. Elgar's symphonic study of Shakespeare's Fat Knight has divided audiences. He considered it his orchestral masterpiece; others find its reputation enigmatic.

Music Played

4 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for Edward Elgar
    00:00

    Edward Elgar Twilight, op.59 no.6

    Performer: Robert Tear (Tenor) Performer: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Vernon Handley

    EMI 5 03603 2 CD 29

  • Image for Edward Elgar
    00:05

    Edward Elgar Coronation March, op.65

    Performer: BBC Philharmonic Conductor: Andrew Davis

    Chandos CHAN 10570-71

  • Image for Edward Elgar
    00:17

    Edward Elgar O hearken thou, op.64

    Performer: Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge Performer: Jonathan Vaughn (Organ of St John’s College, Cambridge) Conductor: Christopher Robinson

    Naxos 8. 557288

  • Image for Edward Elgar
    00:23

    Edward Elgar Falstaff (Symphonic study in C minor, op.68)

    Performer: Hallé Orchestra Conductor: John Barbirolli

    EMI 7 69185 2

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