Violin Sonata in E minor Op.82

Composer: Edward Elgar (b. 1857 - d. 1934)
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Composer: Edward Elgar (b. 1857 - d. 1934)

Performance date: 01/07/2017

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1918

Duration: 00:25:34

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation: vn, pf

Instrumentation Category:Duo

Artists: Huw Watkins - [piano]
Tamsin Waley-Cohen - [violin]

composed his Violin Sonata after he had moved to the cottage of
Brinkwells in rural Sussex in 1918 as he sought repose and relief
from the wearying symptoms of
composing for the war effort, and the all-encompassing atmosphere of
the war. From their London home Alice Elgar had described visions of
sky lit by flying
searchlights…star-like shells bursting…and the boom of guns
. It seems that
Brinkwells proved to be an effective escape and his letters from the
period give no mention of the war, instead the important issues are
cutting clover, a friends broken leg, the ordering of blinds for the
music studio, the departure of the cook, and the clearing of paths
through the woods.

Elgar relished the change from London life, in a place

high above the world in peace, plenty and quietness,

throwing himself into carpentry, fishing, and walking the surrounding
woods in the rain. The composition of the sonata was interposed with
these activities, and William Reed, the violinist who played through
drafts with Elgar and premiered the work, describes how whenever they
played together and reached the blank page where the draft
composition ended, they would go and fish in the river Arun or
explore the woods until the ideas flowed anew. During his visits Reed
encountered Elgar’s Aeolian harp, wedged in the frame of an open
window of his home, which as the wind blew produced a
musical sound of elfin quality…the variety and delicacy of the tone
were indescribably beautiful: almost inaudible at one moment, then
swelling out to intensity the next…Elgar never tired of listening
to its fairylike improvisations.

harp was to provide inspiration for a number of Elgar’s motifs, one
of which can be heard in the tranquil arpeggiated theme into which
the first movement gently slides after the initial violent energies
subside. Reed recounted that;
playing or listening to this section…or its repetitions later on, I
always hear the rise and fall of the wind over the strings of a harp.
Elgar described this
first movement
bold and vigorous, and
its sentiments seem to stand in curious contrast to those of the
following movements, although it anticipates them in its moments of
contemplative calm.

Elgar composed, Alice wrote in her diaries that the sound of the slow
movement was
from anything of his, wood magic, elusive and delicate.
movement has an atmosphere of pervasive tranquillity from which
efflorescent phrases periodically soar. Elgar wrote of the movement
as having
a very
expressive middle section; a melody for the violin…as good or
better than anything I have done in the expressive way.
characterised his final movement as
and soothing.
luxuriates in its melodic writing, expressing an exuberance that
balances the fiery energies of the opening movement with the
tranquillity of the second to form a distinctly edifying conclusion