Where Corals Lie from Elgar's Sea Pictures
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."