Elgar was impressed by the musicianship of Robert Howson, who conducted the Morecambe Madrigal Society and had made it one of the finest choirs in the country. Elgar called him ‘one of the best men I ever met’ and ‘the musical soul of the Morecambe affair’. After Howson’s premature death in 1905 Elgar completed a part-song, Evening Scene
, in his memory. He may well have written it also to compensate his friend Canon Gorton for having to miss the 1906 Festival (he had conducting commitments in America at the Cincinnati Festival). At its first performance at the 1906 Festival Samuel Langford of The Manchester Guardian
called it ‘… a highly original bit of writing, a singularly faithful translation into tone of the drowsy, dreamy atmosphere of evening in the fields and its subdued sounds’.
from notes by Geoffrey Hodgkins © 1998