Elgar - Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84 (1918)





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Uploaded on Dec 30, 2010

Quintet in A minor for Piano and String Quartet, Op. 84 (1918, premiered 1919)

I. Moderato - Allegro (00:01)
II. Adagio (13:59)
III. Andante - Allegro (27:00)

A wonderful chamber work for piano and string quartet by English composer Edward Elgar (1857-1934), which he dedicated to Ernest Newman, music critic of the Manchester Guardian. According to Alice Elgar, the atmospheric, ominous quality of the music is a reflection of the natural setting of Elgar's Sussex cottage at Flexham Park near Brinkwells, where he stayed during the summer of 1918. Indeed, Elgar's biographer W. H. "Billy" Reed has compared Flexham Park to the "Wolf's Glen" in Weber's opera "Der Freischütz". Some musicologists have connected Elgar's description of the opening movement as "ghostly stuff" and hints in Alice Elgar's description that the work might have a programmatic basis to conclude that Edward Bulwer-Lytton's occult novel "A Strange Story" forms a "quasi-programme" underlying the Quintet, as Elgar had ordered a few Bulwer-Lytton novels from the London Library at the time. Whether or not this is true, the Quintet's purely musical content is fascinating enough to merit close listening and analysis (which is why I've provided the score in the video).

Piano: Ian Brown
Sorrel Quartet

Viewers at an academic institution may access this analysis of Elgar's Quintet by Michael Allis, which argues for the Edward Bulwer-Lytton connection:


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