The Elgar Society marks the passing of Paul Adrian Rooke
It is with considerable sadness that we have to record the death in mid-November of Paul Rooke, the Society’s publicity officer and a member of Council for some ten years until 2006, and an original member of the Society’s Elgar-in-Performance group. In 2006, he relinquished his Society responsibilities to help set up Elgar Works, in which he served as Chief Originator until his recent death. The Chief Originator’s role is to provide high quality scores for inclusion in newly published volumes of the Elgar Complete Edition. Paul took the role a step further by turning the scores into sets of high-quality performance material, many of them for rarely performed works.
Throughout his life Paul was a passionate advocate of music by English composers and through concerts he programmed and conducted with the Hitchin Symphony Orchestra, he gave the concert-going audience the opportunity to hear a raft of other rarely heard works.
9 November 2019
Young Russian receives the Elgar Medal
Young Russian violinist Anastasia Vedyakova is the latest recipient of the Elgar Medal. The award is highest honour to be granted by the Society and is presented to those who have demonstrated continued commitment to the promotion of the life and works of Edward Elgar or the aims and objectives of The Elgar Society.
Over the last decade, Anastasia has worked tirelessly to promote the music of Edward Elgar in Russia and has performed almost all of his music for violin including of course the Sonata and the Concerto with orchestra, as well as overseeing performances of the Elegy and Sospiri. She has also made an arrangement of the Imperial March for a vast wind ensemble. Her concert venues invariably have portraits of Elgar, the Birthplace and other relevant images prominently displayed, and she frequently talks to audiences about Elgar and his music.
The presentation was made at the end of a recital given at the Royal Northern College of Music by Vice-Chairman Stuart Freed, who spoke of her outstanding work in her home country and continued commitment to Elgar’s music.
7 October 2019
A New Chairman for the Society
Neil Mantle MBE has become the the Elgar Society’s new Chairman. He brings to the post a wealth of performing experience as the founding conductor of the Scottish Sinfonia in 1970 as well as conducting the Dundee Choral Union for thirteen years. He has also worked with the RSNO, SCO and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Although Neil has a large repertoire of works conducted, he is especially noted as a champion of Vaughan Williams and, of course, Elgar.
He has been active for many years as a freelance horn player, both in orchestral and chamber music and is still an examiner to ABRSM.
Neil was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to music in Scotland’.
13 August 2019
Timothy Day gives the 2019 Elgar Lecture
The Elgar Lecture at this year’s Three Choirs Festival was given by Society member Timothy Day.His subject was Elgar and English Cathedral Music.Having spent many years working at the National Sound Archive, Timothy was able to bring his vast knowledge of recorded music, together with a passion for the British choral tradition to his theme, often contradicting accepted ideas and offering evidence through his musical illustrations.Please click the link to view the musical examples chosen by Timothy. View musical illustrations
7 June 2019
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.