The Elgar Festival celebrates 100 years of the Cello Concerto
Worcester Cathedral was host to the 100th anniversary performance of Elgar’s iconic Cello Concerto. A rapt audience was treated to an outstanding rendering of the Concerto given by the English Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kenneth Woods, with soloist Raphael Wallfisch. The concert also featured Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 5 and Elgar’s Sea Pictures arranged for chorus and orchestra by Donald Fraser.
This was the second annual Elgar Festival held in Worcester to celebrate England finest composer and comprised of a series of events in and around the city, aimed a promoting Elgar for everyone.
The Elgar Society marks the passing of Martin Bird
The Funeral of Martin Bird, the author and compiler of several volumes of Elgar’s collected letters, will take place at the end of May 2019.Martin was a long term member of the Society and served as the editor of the Journal from 2010 to 2016 as well as contributing a number of book reviews under the editorship of other editors.
After graduating from the University of Kent, Martin worked for British Airways for nearly thirty years.He took early retirement in the 1990s, devoting his time to his double bass, Elgarian research and writing and presenting talks together with his wife Jane.
Martin will be greatly missed by his family and by the wider Elgarian community, to which he has contributed so much.
16 March 2019
Elgar for Everyone. The 2019 Elgar Festival takes shape
The 2019 Elgar Festival takes place in Worcester from May 30 to June 2. This year the Festival features a variety of attractions ranging from exhibitions to concerts, taking in talks, recitals and choral events. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Cello Concerto, the Festival includes a Cello Workshop for young musicians and a performance of the piece with Raphael Wallfisch as soloist and the ESO directed by Kenneth Woods. Get full details at http://elgarfestival.org .
3 March 2019
David Young receives the Certificate of Merit
Retiring Membership Secretary, David Young, has been presented with the Society’s Certificate of Merit in recognition of his long service to the Society in this role. Over a number of years, David has overseen the maintenance of the membership database during a period of great technological and organisational change, showing a commitment to what can be both a rewarding and often frustrating job.
23 September 2018
Donald Hunt OBE dies aged 88
Dr Donald Hunt OBE died at the age of 88 at his home in Worcester on 4 August 2018.
Born in Gloucester, Dr Hunt became a widely regarded organist, conductor, speaker and writer on music. Having served as a chorister in Gloucester Cathedral, he went on to become assistant to Herbert Sumsion, moving on to a position as organist and choirmaster at Leeds Parish Church whilst holding a number of posts within the city.
For twenty years from 1976 Dr Hunt was master of choristers and organist at Worcester Cathedral and became artistic director and conductor of the Three Choirs Festival during this period.
On retirement form the Cathedral, he began his long association with the Elgar School of Music whilst continuing to appear as conductor and performer and founded The Elgar Chorale, which quickly became an important feature of musical life in and around Worcestershire.
Chiefly associated with the music of Samuel Sebastian Wesley, Stanford, Howells and Elgar, Dr Hunt will be greatly missed as a long standing supporter of the Society and its work.
16 April 2018
The Elgar Festival
The Elgar Festival is the official celebration of the life and music of Edward Elgar, based in his home town of Worcester with activities spanning Elgar Country. Together with the National Trust and the Elgar Society, the Festival committee present a programme of activities that will take place over the weekend of the 1st to the 3rd of June 2018, which reflects the full scope of Elgar’s life and music.
The retiring editor of the Elgar Society News has received the Society’s Certificate of Merit. At a time when the production of the News was threatened Richard, together with Ernie Kay, agreed to take over the publication not as editor, but as compiler, until such times as a new editor could be found. Under this joint stewardship, the News has flourished and, once again, become the membership’s main source of information about the wider activities of the Society. Although he has relinquished his responsibilities relating tenth News, Richard will continue in his role as secretary of the West Midlands Branch.
13 June 2017
Chris Bennet awarded the Certificate of Merit
Anyone who knows the Elgar Birthplace Museum will have come across Chris Bennett. After many years of service, Chris has decided to move on in order to explore other avenues. His advice and encyclopaedic knowledge of all matters Elgarian will be sorely missed. However, he will not lose contact with the Elgar community and will still be available to lend his considerable experience when called upon. To mark his departure from the Birthplace, the Society has awarded him its Certificate of Merit in recognition of his extraordinary service to the Elgarian cause. The presentation was made in the Chapter House of Worcester Cathedral by Steven Halls, Chairman of the Society.
12 June 2017
Presentation at St. George’s, Worcester
During the concert of Elgar’s Church Music given by Elgar Voices, directed by Donald Hunt and in the presence of the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, a signed photograph of Sir Edward Elgar bequeathed to the Society by Mr Colin Rhys Parry Jones, was presented to Father Brian McGinley, Priest of St. George’s, by Stuart Freed, Vice-Chairman of the Society.
“When this item was bequeathed to the Society,” said Mr. Freed, “the Council had no hesitation in suggesting that it be found a home in the place in which Elgar made his first public appearances and which was undoubtedly his spiritual home.”
The concert was dedicated to the memory of Samuel Driver White and was held to launch Dr. Hunt’s newly published edition of Elgar’s Church Music.
23 March 2017
Geoff Scargill receives the Certificate of Merit
Geoff Scargill, until recently Chairman of the North West Branch, Executive member and Chairman of the Branch Chairmen’s committee, has been awarded the Society’s Certificate of Merit for his unstinting contribution to the Society and its work.
Over many years, Geoff has given of his time in order to ensure that the Society continues to thrive, particularly in areas where interest in Elgar and his music was either in danger of neglect or was in need of development. Due to his support new branches have been set up and some existing branches have been saved from extinction, both benefiting from his support and guidance. Most recently, Geoff has been a great supporter of and prime mover in establishing a Society affiliate in Germany which is now thriving and helping to encourage both performance and a better understanding of Elgar’s music. Many members will have enjoyed the trips that he organised to Germany.
Geoff continues to serve on the Council of the Society.