In a state of despair…
In the aftermath of the Great War Edward Elgar was feeling rather despondent and downhearted. Realizing that Europe would never be the same after the tragedy of war, as well as the chaos and destruction that ensued, he withdrew from composing (for a brief period). It was not until a creative period between 1918-1919 that he poured his heart and soul into four chamber works that rank amongst the finest he ever composed. The final of these four was his Cello Concerto in E minor op. 85. Since then it has become an important part of the cello concerto repertoire, especially after Jacqueline Du Pre’s rendition of the work.
Elgar’s Cello Concert was premiered on 27 October 1919 in the Queen’s Hall, London. Elgar himself conducted the London Symphony Orchestra and the soloist was a renowned cellist of the day, Felix Salmond. Rehearsal time had been inadequate, and the review by Ernest Newman, a leading critic, began by complaining about the ragged performance. He went on to say: "The work itself is lovely stuff, very simple - that pregnant simplicity that has come upon Elgar's music in the last couple of years, but with a profound wisdom and beauty underlying its simplicity ... a fine spirit's lifelong wistful brooding upon the loveliness of earth."
During his final illness in 1933, Elgar hummed the concerto's first theme to a friend and said, "If ever after I'm dead you hear someone whistling this tune on the Malvern Hills, don't be alarmed. It's only me."
Now, Omega Ensemble is teaming up with acclaimed Dutch cellist, Teije Hylkema, to perform this iconic concerto in an intimate and divine chamber music setting that will leave you breathless. Omega Ensemble and Teije Hylkema’s performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, promises to be a highlight of the evening. David Rowden, Omega’s Artistic Director describes this as a ‘concert of contrasts’. The program opens with a new work, Riffraction, by Australia’s Mark Grandison and French composer Guillaume Connesson’s contemporary work, Sextet. Mozart’s Fantasia in F minor, Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonietta and Elgar’s Cello Concerto complete the night.
Tickets are on sale now via cityrecitalhall.com or the box office on (02) 8256 2222.