Introduction and Allegro for Strings
Edward Elgar

210

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The sixth of Elgar's 12 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This has made an appearance 18 times over the 20 years, and reached its highest ever position of number 119 in the inaugural countdown in 1996.

Composed in 1905 for an all-Elgar performance by the newly formed London Symphony Orchestra, this is a wonderful example of Elgar's characteristically descriptive string writing. It was written after the Enigma Variations, after Sea Pictures, and after the Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-3, but before his period of self-doubt following the composition of his Symphony No.2, a time of endless soul-searching about whether he was 'composed out'.

Inspiration for the piece came from a rather bracing walk along the cardigan shire coast, when he had heard a distant choir, and he had stashed it away for a possible 'Welsh Rhapsody' of some sort. In the end, the Welsh piece never came, so he borrowed the tune for this work, which features both a string quartet and a string orchestra.