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Track(s) taken from CDA67019

The Wanderer

First line:
I wander through the woodlands
author of text
author of text
opening stanza

London Symphony Chorus, Stephen Westrop (chorus master), Vernon Handley (conductor)
Recording details: April 1998
St Alban's Church, Holborn, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: November 1998
Total duration: 2 minutes 5 seconds

Other recordings available for download

The Donald Hunt Singers, Donald Hunt (conductor)


'Marvellous songs … most beautifully sung' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Deserves to remain the authoritative recording for many years to come' (Choir & Organ)

'No Elgar fan will want to miss the genuinely valuable disc. Another Hyperion success' (Classic CD)

'You cannot do better than a recent Hyperion disc of choral songs. The choral writing is beautiful in an understated way and the performances are winning' (The New York Times)
The last year of the war had stirred Elgar's creative gift to something approaching its best, to produce the chamber works and the Cello Concerto; but the death of his wife in April 1920 was a crushing blow, and he found many of the changes of the post-war world difficult to adjust to. It was not until 1923 that he began to compose original music again, when his friend the critic Robin Legge requested two part-songs for an American male-voice ensemble, the DeReszke Singers. Elgar responded with The Wanderer, to some seventeenth-century words he found, and to which he added an opening stanza of his own. As Jerrold Northrop Moore put it, ‘[he] created a poem which reflected astonishingly his own mood since his wife’s death’. The nostalgic tone is set in Elgar’s own opening verse, which speaks of wandering through woodlands, and ‘tuning a song’ among the trees; but later he wanders into the wilderness and eventually faces up to death. The second song, Zut, zut, zut, a ‘marching-song’, was set to some words of his own written under the pseudonym ‘Richard Mardon’. Over the repeated syllable of the title, the song celebrates the ‘lads’ who ‘fiercely fought for freedom’. The nostalgic note is present: ‘shall we forget our old-time march-song? The lads sang it so, Long, long ago’. The final words speak of ‘Glory to them and a fame’, but there is no triumphal ending, the march fading into silence.

from notes by Geoffrey Hodgkins © 1998

Other albums featuring this work

Elgar: The complete choral songs
CDA66271/22CDs Archive Service
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