In the spirit of Mostly Mozart, Essentially Elgar focuses primarily on a single composer: Edward Elgar, the most loved and most “English” of English composers. Elgar’s justly famous Cello Concerto, written in the aftermath of World War I, is by turns poignant and passionate. Atour de force for the soloist, it has long been a favourite with listeners. Elgar had earlier made his name with the equally famous Enigma Variations, loving portraits in sound of the composer’s nearest and dearest.
The Elegy for Strings “In Memoriam Rupert Brooke” by Frederick Septimus Kelly offers a portrait of a different kind. Musician, sportsman and soldier, Sydney-born Kelly composed the Elegy for Strings while stationed at Gallipoli in 1915. Andrew Schultz’s August Offensive, which forms part of the 10-movement Gallipoli Symphony, presents another snapshot of Australia’s “Baptism of Fire”.