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Elgar's Cello Eulogy

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University Great Hall, ExeterExeter, South-West, EX4 4PZ, United Kingdom
On Wednesday 21 February 2018 at 19:30

Written in the summer of 1919, the Cello Concerto represented, for Elgar, the angst, despair and disillusionment he felt after the Great War, and an introspective look at death and mortality. He had been deeply saddened by the war, was suffering from a painful chronic ear condition, and the recent deaths of several old friends had made him acutely aware of his own advancing years. It signified Elgar’s farewell to the way of life as he had known it. “Everything good and nice and clean and fresh and sweet is far away – never to return” he wrote.

Remaining incredibly fresh and abounding with memorable melodies, the Ninth Symphony describes Dvořák’s spiritual and emotional journey from his intense longing for his beloved Bohemia to the thrill of the “New World” and its varied peoples. With its realisation of love and affection, the Siegfried Idyll shows a side of Wagner rarely seen in his operas. Absent is the wild passion; rather, it is a gentle song of contentment and a most personal and intimate expression of Wagner’s feelings while still calling to mind his heroic alter-ego.

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