This week, we have explored music of the English composer Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934), from the blazing orchestral virtuosity of In the South, to the youthful charm of the Serenade for Strings. We’ll finish the week with a brief and breezy aubade—music which suggests the cheerful innocence of pastoral flowers catching the first light of dawn.
Chanson de Matin (“Morning Song”) is the sunny companion to the more melancholy Chanson de Nuit. Published as Op. 15, No. 1 and 2 respectively, these songs without words were written originally for solo violin and piano. Even in this ebullient music, there are passing moments of quiet lament and contemplative solitude. This is an atmosphere which hovers around much of Elgar’s music. The restless second theme takes a sudden turn into minor. Then, listen to the way we come “home” again (1:28) with a passionate musical “embrace” which falls back into the ultimate quiet comfort and satisfaction.
Here is Sir Mark Elder’s 2003 recording with the Manchester, UK-based Hallé Orchestra:
My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require.
-Sir Edward Elgar
- Elgar: Chanson de Matin, Op. 15 No. 2, Sir Mark Elder, Hallé Orchestra halle.co.uk
Photograph: Stour Valley and Dedham Church, John Constable