Elgar Reimagined – Raphael Wallfisch with the English String Orchestra/Kenneth Woods


Edward Elgar arr. Donald Fraser  Miniatures for Cello and Strings – Chanson de Matin, Op.15 No.2 – Chanson de Nuit, Op.15 No.1 – The Wild Bears, Wand of Youth Suite No.2 – Nimrod, The Enigma Variations, Op.36 – Romance, Op.62 – Sospiri, Op.70 – Mazurka, Op.10 No.1 – Pleading, Op.48 * – In Moonlight * – Salut d’Amour, Op.12 * – Adieu *  


The English String Orchestra are joined by one of their most longstanding collaborators, cellist Raphael Wallfisch, for a concert conducted by Kenneth Woods featuring a suite of eleven new miniatures for cello and strings by Sir Edward Elgar in arrangements by composer Donald Fraser. As the professional orchestra of Elgar’s home city, and orchestra-in-residence of The Elgar Festival, the music of Elgar has long been a central part of the ESO’s repertoire. Past ESO collaborators include some of the leading Elgar interpreters of the last 50 years, including conductors Yehudi Menuhin and Vernon Handley and soloists Nigel Kennedy, Nicola Benedetti and Alexander Sitkovetsky. Most recently, the English Symphony Orchestra were asked to give the official 100th Anniversary performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto under the auspices of the Elgar Society, Elgar Birthplace and Elgar Festival with Raphael Wallfisch in Worcester Cathedral. It was at the concert that Wallfisch met composer Donald Fraser, whose choral arrangement of Elgar’s Sea Pictures was being featured on the same concert. Wallfisch suggested that perhaps Fraser orchestrate a few of Elgar’s shorter works for cello and strings, and over the following year the project expanded in scope to finally comprise the eleven movement suite heard in this concert. The pieces include several standalone miniatures from Elgar’s catalogue, such as the much-loved Salut d’Amour and Chanson de Matin, but also includes excerpts from larger works, such as Nimrod from the Enigma Variations, and transcriptions from other concert pieces, like the Romanza, originally for bassoon and symphony orchestra. “Like Brahms, Dvorak and Schubert, Elgar was one of music’s greatest miniaturists,” says conductor Kenneth Woods. “Each of these compact mini-masterpieces inhabits its own emotional world and tells its own story.” Fraser first became involved in orchestrating Elgar’s music at the request of the ESO’s former Principal Guest Conductor, Yehudi Menuhin, in the early 1980’s. More recent arrangements include the choral version of Sea Pictures, which has quickly become a favourite of choirs all over the world and been performed at a number of major festivals. In 2015, the ESO’s premiere performance of Fraser’s orchestration of the Elgar Piano Quintet was named Classical Music Magazine’s Premiere of the Year, and Birmingham Post senior music critic Chris Morley called the performance one of the two “most exciting events I have experienced during a reviewing career approaching half…. It deserves to be acknowledged immediately as a worthy addition to the Elgar canon.” The CD release of the Quintet was immediately named Classic FM’s Disc of the Month for May 2016. Fraser’s most recent recording with the ESO was Songs for Strings, recorded under Fraser’s baton in Abbey Road studios. That disc was Classic FM Disc of the Week when it was released, and chosen as Featured New Release on dozens of American radio networks. Cellist Raphael Wallfisch is widely recognised as the world’s most recorded cellist, with a repertoire encompassing the full breadth of the cello repertoire and dozens of world premiere’s to his credit. A student of Piatigorsky, Wallfisch has been a regular partner with the ESO since the 1980’s. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31y0-axOeH8[/embed]

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Piers Lane: “Legendary concert pianist to perform in Montville’s renowned auditorium” (Sunshine Gazette)

Piers Lane will be performing two concerts in Montville in May.

Legendary Australian pianist Piers Lane will be performing two concerts in Montville in May.

Based in London, Maestro Lane is arguably Australia’s most successful concert pianist, and will visit the Sunshine Coast to perform concerts at Lucas Parklands on May 29 and 30.

Ian Lucas, of Lucas Parklands, said he had long hoped Mr Lane would perform at the Lucas Parklands private concert hall, often described as one of the two best venues of its size in the world.

“Piers Lane has captivated music lovers globally for several decades, so we are incredibly pleased that he has made time in his busy touring program to perform for us at Lucas Parklands for Sunshine Coast music lovers,” Mr Lucas said.

“He’s an inspired pianist who presents the most generous programs to his audiences.

 “French concert pianist Pascal Rogé, who played at Lucas Parklands twice 10 and 12 years ago, said he believed, for its size, it is one of the two best performance venues in the world.”

The first Piers Lane recital on May 29 will be quite unique: all Chopin, predominantly the Nocturnes, presented at twilight in a room lit by candlelight alone. The second concert on May 30 is a 2.30pm matinee where Mr Lane will present two Beethoven sonatas and followed by the Chopin Waltzes.

“You can imagine how incredibly proud and excited I am that he will be performing here,” Mr Lucas said.

The Lucas Parklands concerts and auditorium is located in a private setting near Montville and surrounded by native rainforest, is growing a strong reputation for attracting world class artists and programs. The 150-seat hall features soft lighting and large windows that provide a natural backdrop to an intimate and acoustically brilliant performance space.

“Other performers have commented that they have played in much bigger venues, but they haven’t played in more beautiful places.

“And for us, it’s wonderful to see how quickly artists and guests become comfortable at Lucas Parklands. They arrive not really knowing what to expect, but very quickly they relax and you can see them enjoy the experience.

“I have met the most remarkable people who have stayed in contact, simply because they have come to my home, they love the setting and surroundings, enjoy playing here and they leave as close friends.”

• Mr Lane will perform at the Lucas Parklands concert hall, at Montville, on May 29, 30. For tickets, please phone 0409 623 228 or 5478 5667 or email lucasparklands@bigpond.com. More info: www.pierslane.com & www.lucasparklands.com.au

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