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ELGAR: Part-Songs

Composer(s):Elgar, Edward
Artist(s) Cambridge University Chamber Choir, Choir • Robinson, Christopher, Conductor • Farrington, Iain, piano
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Choral - Secular
Catalogue 8.570541
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

When Elgar’s popular part-song My Love Dwelt in a Northern Land was published in 1890, a ready market for such pieces had been established by the competition festival movement, itself fuelled by the enormous growth in the number of choirs. This wide-ranging selection features several of Elgar’s finest songs, including his best-known work in the genre As Torrents in Summer, which boasts a memorable tune, the highly original and chromatic Owls, probably the strangest that Elgar ever set, and the ambitious and bitonal There is Sweet Music which the composer himself described as ‘a clinker, and the best I have done’.

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Review By Emma Baker,Classic FM,May 2008

Elgar wrote many of his unaccompanied part-songs to satisfy the demand from burgeoning choral societies, festivals and competitions at the turn of the 20th century. You can clearly hear the composer of Gerontius at work in miniature. From songs with almost symphonic writing and rhythms, 'Death on the Hills' and 'Love's Tempest', to those that steer just on the right side of sentimental Victoriana, such as the piano-accompanied Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands or the haunting 'The Owls' (a strange, nihilistic little poem by Elgar himself). Christopher Robinson directs the clean, young voices of the Cambridge University Chamber Choir, which sing with carefully shaded dynamics and impeccable tuning, if rather churchy diction. Unusual repertoire worth exploring,


Review By David Denton, Naxos,March 2008

Choral competitions came into vogue in the UK in the early part of the 20th century when mechanised transport made it possible for amateur groups to travel around the country to take part. They created a new vocal repertoire to emerge, sometimes in the form of ‘test pieces’, but always designed to show the quality of the performers. Most quickly fell by the wayside, but those emanating from the more famous named composers still form part of such events. Having as a youngster been taken into these surroundings by a mother who was a popular judge, I grew familiar with such items as Elgar’s  As Torrents in Summer and Go, Song of Mine. He too had become involved in such groups early in life, but was well into his thirties before he began composing in



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