Online Events

The Elgar Society has a programme of online events. It is hoped that members and non-members will be able to take advantage of this service in order to enjoy a wide-ranging selection of talks and presentations. Some are recordings of live meetings; others are prerecorded presentations produced on behalf of the Society.

All online events and recordings are free of charge and available to members and non-members. Please request access by email as stated below.

Forthcoming Online Events

All are welcome, including non-members — no charge.

17 December 2022: READING THE MUSIC MAKERS
A Zoom talk by Prof. David Young
Saturday 17 December 2022, 2.00 p.m.

Professor Young takes a close look at how the various themes of The Music Makers are integrated into the fabric of the music through masterly control of rhythm, texture and key. A recording of the entire work will be given, supported by a display of David’s analytical guide to the work. This talk will last about 75 minutes.

Please e-mail Sam Dobson for access details.

7 January 2023: ELGAR AND NIMROD
A Zoom talk by Michael Butterfield
Saturday 7 January 2023, 2.00 p.m.

One of the nation’s favourite pieces of music, ‘Nimrod’ was inspired by Elgar’s dear friend August Jaeger. Michael Butterfield tells the story of a profound musical friendship, with many pictorial and musical illustrations.

Please e-mail Sam Dobson for access details.

4 February 2023: ELGAR IN SETTLE
A Zoom talk by Sarah Lister
Saturday 4 February 2023, 2.00 p.m.

This entertaining presentation includes music composed in the area around Settle in Yorkshire, previously little-known anecdotes and photos of several people Elgar met during his visits to the town in the years before he became famous.

Please e-mail Sam Dobson for access details.

As details of more live talks become available they will appear here.

Catch up on past presentations

PRERECORDED PRESENTATIONS:

HILARY ELGAR in conversation with Geoff Scargill

Hilary Elgar, the last surviving great-niece of the composer, talks to Geoff Scargill of the North-West Branch of the Elgar Society about her life, her family and her all-consuming love of music, including the music of Edward Elgar. Their conversation is illustrated by Hilary’s choice of her favourite musical extracts.

Originally presented 24 October–6 November 2022.
Maximum resolution: 1920×1080. Duration 118′15″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

DIANA McVEAGH in conversation with Andrew Neill

Diana McVeagh published her first book about Elgar in 1955, when his reputation was at its lowest, and her latest 52 years later. Her work since has included an important biography of Gerald Finzi and an edition of his letters. Here she is in conversation with Andrew Neill, a fellow Vice-President of the Elgar Society, a friend and colleague in the Society since the formation of its London Branch in 1971.

Available via this link since 14 September 1922.
Duration 48′46″

SIR ANDREW DAVIS in conversation with Andrew Neill

In this audio-only interview, Vice-President of the Elgar Society, Sir Andrew Davis, speaks candidly to Andrew Neill about his long and varied music life, his association with orchestras both here and overseas and the music that has been the focus of his conducting career.

Originally presented 11–25 April 2022.
Duration 98′28″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

MARTYN BRABBINS: The very model of a modern major conductor, from the world of the brass band to ENO

Martyn Brabbins, one of Britain’s leading conductors and a Vice-President of the Elgar Society, talks to Andrew Neill. He considers his early career, his musical influences and his life and support for British music. Currently Music Director of English National Opera, he discusses some of the challenges he faces and his aspirations for the company, including the next Ring cycle.

This was recorded before the sudden death of the composer, Anthony Payne. Both Martyn and Andrew, who discuss Tony’s work, would like this release to be in his memory.

Produced by Oscar Torres.
Originally presented 29 May – 5 June 2021.
Maximum resolution: 1280×720. Duration 123′50″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

CHRISTOPHER BISHOP: Recollections of a recording producer

Christopher Bishop was a senior record producer at E.M.I. from 1964 to 1979 and later managed the Philharmonia and Royal Scottish National Orchestras. His time at E.M.I. coincided with the ‘Indian summer’ in the recording studio of Sir Adrian Boult, many of whose later recordings he produced. They included works by Bach, Brahms and Wagner, and many by English composers, including The Pilgrim’s Progress by Vaughan Williams, and most of Elgar’s greatest orchestral and choral works, including the first complete recordings of The Apostles and The Kingdom. Illustrated by musical extracts, Christopher Bishop discusses his career and the making of these records, known and loved by Elgarians throughout the world.

Produced by Peter Newble.
Originally presented 16–23 January 2021.
Maximum resolution: 1920×1080. Duration 79′22″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

CHRISTMAS QUIZ 2020

An especially compiled online quiz was presented by Vice Chairman, Stuart Freed. This light-hearted presentation features a wide variety of general musical teasers and one or two surprises — but no Christmas questions! If you would like to check your answers, please e-mail Stuart Freed.

Produced by Peter Newble.
Originally presented 12–19 December 2020.
Maximum resolution: 1920×1080. Duration 57′00″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

SIR JOHN BARBIROLLI: Miracle in Manchester

From his arrival in the Blitz-ravaged city of Manchester in the midst of the Second World War to his death, fifty years ago, Sir John Barbirolli revived and nurtured the Hallé. In twenty years he transformed it into a world-class orchestra, and he tirelessly promoted the work of English composers, notably Elgar. In this tribute by the North-West Branch of the Elgar Society, John Knowles introduces Geoff Scargill, who tells the story of this ‘Miracle in Manchester’ with the help of David Jones’s unique collection of images and recordings.

Produced by Peter Newble.
Originally presented 15–22 November 2020.
Maximum resolution: 1920×1080. Duration 108′57″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

THE PURSUIT OF DIARMUID AND GRÁINNE: Elgar and Irish cultural identity

The music Elgar called Grania and Diarmid was composed for the 1901 play Diarmuid and Grania, written by W. B. Yeats and the author George Moore. Little more than 12 minutes in length, the music is, nevertheless, of great beauty and contains some of Elgar’s most subtle and beautiful orchestration Andrew Neill, a Vice-President of the Elgar Society, explores the story behind the commissioning of Elgar to write music for a now long-forgotten play.

He unravels the complicated relationship between Yeats and Moore and the offence taken, both that an English theatre company should come to Dublin to perform the play and the commissioning of an English composer to write the music. It is, at times, an amusing story.

Produced by Oscar Torres.
Originally presented by London Branch, 9–16 November 2020.
Maximum resolution: 1280×720.
Duration 79′48″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

JUDAS ISCARIOT IN MUSIC: Elgar’s The Apostles and beyond

Elgar’s portrayal of Judas Iscariot in his oratorio, The Apostles, is perhaps his most heartfelt characterisation. In this illustrated talk, Peter Newble explores how Judas’s portrayal in musical works has evolved over a period of nearly 500 years, and examines his role in The Apostles in more detail.

Produced by Peter Newble.
Originally presented by Yorkshire & North-East Branch, 31 October 2020.
Maximum resolution: 1920×1080. Duration 82′02″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

POMP AND POETRY

A programme of poetry by Thomas Hood, Roger McGough, D. H. Lawrence, J. A. Linden, Thom Gunn, Walter de la Mare, G. K. Chesterton, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, William Shakespeare, C. Day-Lewis, Dorothy Parker and W. E. Henley, complemented by the music of Sir Edward Elgar. Compiled by Stella and Stuart Freed, with readings by Peter Sutton.

Produced by Peter Newble.
Originally presented 19–25 October 2020.
Maximum resolution: 1280×720.
Duration 79′38″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

SIR MARK ELDER and Joyce Kennedy

Sir Mark Elder, the distinguished British conductor, Music Director of the Hallé and President of the Elgar Society, discusses his lifelong love of Elgar’s music (and much more besides) with Dr Joyce Kennedy, illustrated by several of his recordings.

Produced by Peter Newble.
Originally presented 20–27 September 2020.
Maximum resolution: 1280×720.
Duration 64′16″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

ELGAR AND THE GRAMOPHONE

Peter Newble examines the development of sound recording throughout the whole of Elgar’s lifetime, and in particular the composer’s own close and invigorating involvement with the Gramophone Company (‘His Master’s Voice’) in his last twenty years. The talk is illustrated by recordings by Elgar and others, with the help of one of the H.M.V. gramophones which Elgar helped to promote.

Produced by Peter Newble.
Originally presented 18–20 June 2020.
Maximum resolution: 1920×1080.
Duration 95′41″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

RECORDINGS OF LIVE ZOOM TALKS:

2022

19 November: PUTTING ELGAR IN CONTEXT: Female musicians of Elgar’s time
A Zoom talk by Dr Leah Broad

The Elgar years produced some of Britain’s most important female composers from the passionate and defiant Dame Ethel Smyth to the more reclusive Dorothy Howell who tended Elgar’s grave. Dr Broad explores how and why women really began to make their mark on British music in the early twentieth century.

Originally presented 19 November 2022.
Original resolution: 1920×1080.
Duration 78′59″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

 

8 October: ELGAR IN BERLIN, 1901–1930

A Zoom talk by Wolfgang Armin-Rittmeier

Elgar’s music was first performed in Germany in 1901. This was in Düsseldorf. From that year onward there were also a number of performances in Berlin. Wolfgang Rittmeier has researched these performances and reveals how Berlin critics saw Elgar and his music in the years before the Third Reich.

No recording of this talk is available, but the accompanying slides may be viewed here.

7 May: ELGAR AND THE YSAŸE AFFAIR

An unedited recording of a Zoom talk by Arthur Reynolds.

From the time he was at work on his Violin Concerto, Elgar nourished the hope that he would one day hear his great work played by Eugène Ysaÿe. The Belgian was widely acknowledged as the greatest living lyrical violinist. Despite herculean efforts, Elgar’s hope would never be realised. Arthur Reynolds, Chairman of the Elgar Society’s North American Branch, tells the story.

Originally presented 7 May 2022.
Original resolution: 1280×720.
Duration 74′50″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

2 April: ‘NOVELTIES’ AND THE THREE CHOIRS FESTIVAL

An unedited recording of a Zoom talk by Dr Alexis Paterson.

The Three Choirs Festival is one of the oldest music festivals in the world. It provided a key part of Elgar’s musical education and a platform for his compositions. The festival’s Chief Executive, Dr Alexis Paterson, reviews its 300-year history with particular reference to its legacy of commissioning and premiering new works, or ‘novelties’ as they were known in the Elgar years.

Originally presented 2 April 2022.
Original resolution: 1280×720.
Duration 78′34″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

12 March: SIR ARTHUR SULLIVAN

An unedited recording of a Zoom talk by Dr Anne Stanyon.

Dr Stanyon, a Vice President of the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society, takes a fresh look at Sullivan’s career. The talk includes a section on the interactions between Sullivan and Elgar; some documented in the main sources and some less well known.

Originally presented 12 March 2022.
Original resolution: 1366×768
Duration 83′29″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

2021

18 December: ELGAR AND THE WORLD OF COMMERCIAL REALITY

An unedited recording of a Zoom talk by Richard Westwood-Brookes.

Money, or the lack of it, was a constant complaint throughout Elgar’s life. But how much did he really understand the requirements of the commercial world and how much did his understanding shape what he produced, and even the way some works were written? Richard Westwood-Brookes explores this subject and wonders whether it was this, more than anything else, which caused Elgar to retire from mainstream composing after Alice’s death.

Originally presented 18 December 2021.
Original resolution: 1280×720.
Duration 101′23″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

30 October: ELGAR, ENGLISHNESS AND NOSTALGIA

Saturday 30 October 2021, 2.00 p.m.

An unedited recording of a Zoom talk by Dr Martin Firth. ‘Elgar is the very epitome of Englishness’. Dr Firth examines this statement setting his remarks against the tide of nostalgia that was so much a feature of Edwardian England.

The theme is explored in Elgar’s melodic writing and orchestration, with particular reference to the Cello Concerto.

Originally presented 30 October 2021.
Original resolution: 1280×720.
Duration 77′59″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

19 June: MEMORIES OF A BRASS BAND PLAYER and the Elgar connection

A recording of a North-West Branch meeting held via Zoom at which Geoff Scargill interviewed Paul Cull, a North-West Branch member and a brass-band player for sixty years.

Produced by David Ll. Jones.
Originally presented 19 June 2021.
Maximum resolution: 1920×1080. Duration 73′09″
Please e-mail Peter Newble for access details.

1 March: ELGAR‘S ORCHESTRAL MINIATURES

In a recording of a live meeting held via Zoom, Dr Steven Halls, former Chairman of the Elgar Society, examines the varied and delightful works from throughout Elgar’s career that helped secure his popularity and financial stability, even if they do not always scale the heights of his masterpieces.

Originally presented 1 March 2021 by the London Branch.
Duration 75′48″
Please e-mail Ruth Hellen for access details.