Guest Cynic Posted January 30, 2008 Share Posted January 30, 2008 For what *instrumental means* was Elgar's Sonata composed ? Does anyone know ? (Yerk yerk yerk....) Pierre For many years people believed that it was written for Hope-Jones's rebuilt organ in Worcester Cathedral, indeed there is one textbook which says so. More recently, I believe Dr.Relf Clark and others (based around the University of Reading) have established firmly that the first performance was attempted on Worcester Cathedral's Hill transept organ i.e. before Hope Jones came on the scene. The first performance, however, was a disaster according to every account that has come down to us. It is not hard to imagine the difficulties - large mid-victorian instrument with inadequate stop control, new work still in manuscript written unidiomatically, making no concessions to the young cathedral organist (Hugh Blair) who found himself at fairly short notice in the spotlight with an amazingly difficult piece to perform. At that time, I doubt whether anyone in this country had ever seen anything of equivalent difficulty. Not surprisingly, no British publisher would touch it. Subsequently, it was taken up in Germany where such a dense score did not look quite so out of place! The fourth movement, in particular, still represents a major challenge and because the writing is so reminiscent of music for strings, even when played up to speed and with immaculate phrasing, it still doesn't (quite) sound like real organ music. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a master work, but a problem work for all that. An intriguing question is that if there had not been a major public disaster and the Hill organ had not gained a reputation for being difficult to control would Robert Hope-Jones have been as warmly greeted with his proposal of a state-of-the-art electric console to control all the organs in the cathedral? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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