Allegro piacevole • Larghetto • Allegretto
This is one of Elgar’s earliest successes and was written in 1892. The Enigma Variations and his symphonic compositions were still some years away. Elgar was encouraged by his wife to write the piece, because she was becoming somewhat concerned about his lack of recognition from the music world in general. It remains the earliest work of his which is still in the repertoire. The three movements exhibit Elgar’s early mastery of writing for strings, and they are imbued with the gentle, autumnal atmosphere that was to become such a familiar feature of much of Elgar’s writing. The rhythmic figure that opens the work is the important seed of the first movement, while the larghetto presents a thoughtful, slow meditation on a main theme. The short finale has a single thematic idea and the music drifts to a soft close.
Programme note: Rodney Trudgeon