Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Elgar in Elaborate Disguise; BBC ScottishSO / Brabbins Royal Albert Hall PROMS 2004

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Elgar in Elaborate Disguise; BBC ScottishSO / Brabbins Royal Albert Hall PROMS 2004

Article excerpt

Byline: STEPHEN PETTITT

COMPOSER Anthony Payne's masterly reconstruction - modestly called an "elaboration"- of Elgar's Third Symphony, completed seven years ago, still does not sound quite like the Elgar we thought we knew. And that is only right.

Payne's task was to exercise his profound skill in guessing, where it was not obvious, at the directions Elgar was taking, not to give us the old, familiar Elgar.

He chose for himself the ordering of material in the great, dark, elusive Adagio, composed an entire development section and ending for the first movement, and had to finish the finale on the basis of even less evidence.

He ends the symphony with a visionary coda entirely of his own making. The last sound is that of a gentle, poignant tamtam stroke. Its lavish resonance seems to stretch back 70 years, to Elgar's deathbed, where he beseeched his friend Billy Reed to burn the work.

Elgar would surely have been delighted with the completed work and with last night's robust, passionate, mellow sounding, deeply searching performance, given by Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. …

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