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Severn Suite, Op 87

composer
1930; commissioned for the 1930 Brass Band Festival at Crystal Palace; dedicated to George Bernard Shaw

 
Some fifty years before he came to write the Severn Suite Edward Elgar first became professionally involved with band music when he was appointed director of the band of the county lunatic asylum at Powick in Worcestershire. It was in this position that he made arrangements of opera arias and composed some original material for band.

The Severn Suite came to be written at the instigation of a brass band music editor, Herbert Whiteley, whose ambition it had been for some time to secure from Elgar a competition piece for the annual Brass Band Festival at Crystal Palace. In 1930 there fell the twenty-fifth anniversary of this festival and Elgar was enticed, with a generous offer made in somewhat hard times, to fulfil this commission. The music he wrote was scored for brass band by Henry Geehl, an acknowledged expert in this particular skill. The arranger recalls that Elgar supplied him with a sketchy piano part, a figured bass and a kind of skeletal orchestral score, together with an indication of the counterpoint that he was required to add. Geehl went on to complain that he had much difficulty in persuading the great composer to write idiomatically for band. However, the work was successfully completed and Elgar accorded it an opus number, 87, and dedicated it to George Bernard Shaw who received the honour with delight. Later, Elgar scored the work for orchestra and added names of local reference to each movement: Introduction (Worcester Castle), Toccata (Tournament), Fugue (Cathedral) and Minuet (Commandery). This new version was recorded by Elgar with the London Symphony Orchestra in April 1932.

from notes by Peter Lamb 1988

Recordings

Elgar: Organ Music
SIGCD266Download only
English Music for Brass
CDH55070Archive Service

Details

Movement 1: Introduction 'Worcester Castle'
arranger

Track 8 on CDH55070 [2'40] Archive Service
Track 8 on SIGCD266 [2'29] Download only
Movement 2: Toccata 'Tournament'
Movement 3: Fugue 'Cathedral'
Movement 4: Minuet 'Commandery'
Movement 5: Coda

Track-specific metadata for CDH55070 track 11

Minuet 'Commandery'
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-88-01311
Duration
6'08
Recording date
22 September 1987
Recording venue
Recording producer
Charles Hilz
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. English Music for Brass (CDH55070)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: May 2002
    Deletion date: August 2010
    Archive Service
  2. English Music for Brass (CDH88013)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: August 1988
    Deletion date: May 2002
    Superseded by CDH55070
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