Friday, July 08, 2011

Where Corals Lie from Elgar's Sea Pictures

(Empirically speaking, had it not been for Ken Russell's tireless advocacy Elgar would never have been rediscovered and the classical music world would be less British. This is the first of many posts on Ken Russell and Edward Elgar.)

Due to Ken Russell's lively documentary on Sir Edward Elgar, the composer who had been mostly forgotten as a "Pro-Empire style cultural relic" (I hate the word Jingoistic!) became a beloved icon even landing on the 20 pound note for a few years. Subliminally his music is the soundtrack for today's England.

"Where Corals Lie" is a poem by Richard Garnett which was set to music by Elgar as the fourth song in his glorious six song-cycle Sea Pictures. Having studied this cycle as a Contralto for many years, I feel that Corals is the most challenging of all the pieces to sing. Dame Baker's voice is so clear, so effortless in modulation that in many ways no other contralto dare not attempt it again. And she was reputedly even better live!

Elgar's soaring and joyous compositions are now heard at every graduation ceremony in the United States and in countless films. Ken's film for BBC Monitor became "one of the most popular films of its kind ever shown on TV, and contributed to a marked revival of interest in the composer's music." [http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/audiointerviews/profilepages/russellk2.shtml Ken Russell] The film was narrated by Huw Wheldon and was eventually selected as on of BFI's "100 Greatest British Television Programmes."


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5 Comments:

Blogger grace said...

I did not know who composed the Pomp and Circumstance music, I do now.

I enjoyed "Where the Coral's Lie".

Oddly, I looked up the P and C music to listen to while reading your post, and found, not the sound I was looking for that is heard at a graduation. But enjoyed nonetheless.

6:33 AM  
Blogger par.nordstrom said...

Yes, Elgar...Well, E. surely would´ve been remembered for `Pomp´, widout da succour from Ken , but for sum reason I don´t think E. would´ve liked people rememberin him for P & C , but rather for his sacral music. & now it´s cum true : E. is a real biggie up there in da celestial spheres !/P.S. aside from E.s music, who can help bein impressed da hell outa by a big bloke wid such a monumental moustache?? ! I mean , fuck me : E. is just da Perfect Brit gent ! JOLLY GOOD , ole sport !

11:53 AM  
Blogger Amanda and SuperAmanda™ said...

Hi Grace You may need a different movement than the one you clicked on. Graduations run one section over and over and over.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moL4MkJ-aLk

1:51

5:44 PM  
Blogger Amanda and SuperAmanda™ said...

Par: I am still learning about Elgar but do know he composed on of his most lyrical pieces in honour of his dog Nimrod.

7:23 PM  
Blogger par.nordstrom said...

Well ... ASSHOLES!!!.. Shite, sry !! ! !, my Afghan neighbors drivin me mad , is all...shut cakeholes up, will ye, for fux sakes !!!/Now, Nimrud/Nimrod was da son´s sonson ( or sumthin da like dat ) of ole man Noa and as we ALL know a ´Huge Hunter before God ´... so there ye are .. & what was da question now ... Elgar´s ´Water Music ` is super BEAUT !what else do we need to know ?NUFFIN !

7:59 PM  

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