Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Donald Macleod discovers Elgar's country cottage retreats. Music includes the composer's Sea Pictures and the first two movements of his Cello Concerto.

Elgar composed best when he was close to nature, away from towns and cities. During his lifetime he often rented retreats or visited friends in idyllic locations to relax and write. In today's programme Donald Macleod introduces us to Elgar's two country cottages 'Birchwood', near Malvern, and 'Brinkwells', in the Sussex countryside, and one of his closest friend's riverside mansion 'The Hut' on the Thames at Bray, near Maidenhead. Music includes his Sea Pictures, and the first two movements of his Cello Concerto in the classic recording with Jacqueline du Pré.

Worcester-born, with his roots in the beautiful English countryside around Hereford and the Malverns yet drawn to the bright lights of London, English composer Edward Elgar moved house a lot. He lived in over 25 residences in his lifetime, stayed with friends, travelled often for work and pleasure in the UK, Europe and further afield, and had a number of second homes he rented as retreats. This week we’re focusing on the locations that were important to Elgar, and the places that inspired his music.

Introduction ‘The woodland interlude’ (Caractacus)
Orchestra of Opera North
Martyn Brabbins, conductor

Sea Pictures Op 37
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
Simon Wright, conductor
Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano

Piano Quintet Op 84 (3rd movt - Andante – Allegro)
Piers Lane, piano
Goldner String Quartet

Cello Concerto in E minor Op 85 (1st movt - Adagio - Moderato & 2nd movt - Lento – Allegro molto)
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir John Barbirolli, conductor
Jacqueline du Pré, cello

Produced by Amy Wheel for BBC Cymru Wales

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Edward Elgar

    The Woodland Interlude from Caractacus

    Orchestra: Opera North Orchestra. Conductor: Martyn Brabbins.
    • HYPERION CDA68254.
    • HYPERION.
    • 12.
  • Edward Elgar

    Sea Pictures Op 37

    Performer: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Choir: Bournemouth Symphony Chorus. Singer: Dame Sarah Connolly. Conductor: Simon Wright.
    • NAXOS 8557710.
    • NAXOS.
    • 11.
  • Edward Elgar

    Piano Quintet Op 84 - 3rd mvt andante - allegro

    Performer: Piers Lane. Ensemble: Goldner String Quartet.
    • Hyperion : CDA-67857.
    • Hyperion.
    • 10.
  • Edward Elgar

    Cello Concerto in E minor Op 85 - 1st & 2nd mvt

    Performer: Jacqueline du Pré. Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: John Barbirolli.
    • EMI : CDC7473292.
    • EMI.
    • 1.

Broadcast

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.