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Elgar and The Fringes of the Fleet

Donald Macleed explores Elgar's song cycle The Fringes of the Fleet, which used words written by Rudyard Kipling.

By the end of the Great War, Sir Edward Elgar couldn't compose any music to celebrate peace, disillusioned as he was by the whole period, which Donald Macleod explores in conversation with Terry Charman from the Imperial War Museum.

With no end in sight for the war, it continued on into 1917. This is when Elgar heard of the death of his friend and supporter Hans Richter, who had given the premiere of some of Elgar's best known works, including the Enigma Variations. Things however were starting to change in Britain, with a new government, and the introduction of convoys to protect cargo and hospital ships from the German u-boat campaign. But with the continued reports of atrocities on the front line, and increased deprivations at home, Elgar finally found the stimulus to finish his work The Spirit of England, with a setting of The Fourth of August. It wasn't only war music which Elgar concentrated on during this time, as he also composed his only ballet incorporating 18th century French costumes and classical mythology, in The Sanguine Fan.

1 hour

Clip

Music Played

  • Edward Elgar

    Variations on an original theme ('Enigma') Op.36 for orchestra

    Conductor: Leonard Slatkin. Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • RCA.
    • 82876603892.
  • Edward Elgar

    The Sanguine fan - ballet Op.81

    Conductor: Adrian Boult. Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • EMI.
    • CDM7631332.
  • Edward Elgar

    5 Improvisations for piano [transcribed from recordings made by the composer 06Nov29]

    Performer: Edward Elgar.
    • EMI.
    • CDA 7543468 2.
  • Edward Elgar

    Fringes of the fleet for 4 baritones and orchestra [text by Kipling]

    Conductor: Tom Higgins. Performer: Duncan Rock. Performer: Laurence Meikle. Performer: Nicholas Lester. Performer: Roderick Williams. Performer: Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • SOMM.
    • CD243.
  • Edward Elgar

    The Spirit of England Op.80 for high voice, chorus and orchestra

    Conductor: Alexander Gibson. Performer: Teresa Cahill. Performer: Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Performer: Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus.
    • CHANDOS.
    • CHAN6574.

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