Edward Elgar

Elegy, for string orchestra, Op. 58

    Description by Wayne Reisig

    Although written on commission to honor the memory of the Rev. Robert Hadden, ward of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, one can hear in Elgar's Elegy for strings deeply felt echoes of "Nimrod." The composer's closest friend and advisor, Augustus Jaeger, had passed away only one month before, so it is hardly surprising that that most eloquent of the Enigma Variations peers through the bars of this short work.

    It is tempting to compare this brief but eloquent work to one from a few years previous, the adagietto from Mahler's Fifth Symphony. The two are structurally arch-shaped, speak closely related emotional languages, and are similarly scored. The Elgar work retains a stoic yet deeply felt dignity that sidesteps the angst of the Mahler symphony movement. Yet from the outset, the Elegy speaks a more intense language than usual for the composer, containing very dense string writing and more dissonance than the norm. Some consolation is to be found in the middle section, which is also highly reminiscent of the composer's earlier string music -- perhaps a deliberate touch of poignancy, for those works were wrought during a much happier time in the composer's life. With the reprise of the opening section the arch of the music touches down to a somber yet calmly accepting close.

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2018
    Raven Records
    OAR 156
    2017
    Pavane / Pavane Records
    ADW 7584
    2017
    Somm
    SOMMCD 0167
    2016
    Alto
    ALC 1321
    2013
    Various Artists
    Decca
    2013
    Various Artists
    Decca
    001916602
    2013
    BIS
    BIS 1879
    2013
    EM Records
    EMRCD 017
    2013
    Decca
    2013
    Decca
    2013
    Decca
    2013
    Decca
    2013
    Decca
    2012
    Warner Classics
    2012
    Chandos
    CHAN 10709
    2012
    Various Artists
    Avalon
    58209
    2011
    IDIS
    6624
    2011
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099908518
    2010
    Sony Classical
    88697707282
    2009
    Harmonia Mundi
    507258
    2009
    SOMM
    243
    2008
    EMI Classics
    2007
    LPO
    16
    2007
    Rhino
    2007
    Apex
    2007
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099950360
    2007
    Various Artists
    Warner Classics
    2564-69924-6
    2007
    BIS
    1589
    2006
    EMI Music Distribution
    67918
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    Warner Classics / Warner Music
    62199
    2005
    Various Artists
    Resonance
    CDRSB301
    2002
    EMI Music Distribution
    75790
    2002
    White Line
    CD WHL 2134
    2002
    Decca
    473 249-2
    2002
    Apex
    927490212
    2002
    ASV
    8508
    2001
    Harmonia Mundi
    907258
    2001
    EMI Music Distribution
    566541
    2000
    Dutton Laboratories
    1017
    2000
    EMI Classics
    5672402
    2000
    Angel Records
    67264
    1999
    Claves
    509325
    1999
    Naxos
    553879
    1999
    Naxos
    554409
    1998
    Arte Nova
    46494
    1997
    Teldec
    0630-17785-2
    1997
    London
    452 707-2DF2
    1995
    Sony Music Distribution
    67176
    1995
    DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
    77343
    1995
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2GH-445-922
    1995
    Deutsche Grammophon
    922
    1994
    Celestial Harmo / Celestial Harmonies
    35507
    1994
    Nimbus
    7015
    1994
    Teldec
    92374
    1994
    Naxos
    550331
    1994
    EMI Music Distribution
    68008
    1993
    EMI Music Distribution
    9003
    1993
    EMI Music Distribution
    64724
    1993
    Arabesque
    6563
    1992
    Various Artists
    Celestial Harmonies
    14050
    1991
    EMI Music Distribution
    63955
    1986
    EMI Music Distribution
    747537
    HMV Classics
    573383
    Eufoda
    1180
    Decca
    440317
    Nimbus
    5008
    BBC Music Magazine
    285
    In Classical Mood
    12019
    EMI Music Distribution
    69224
    Beulah
    2PD15