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English Symphony Orchestra
Sheku Kanneh-Mason cello
Kenneth Woods conductor
Elgar (arr. Donald Fraser) Piano Quintet
David Matthews Symphony No 9 (World Premiere)
Elgar Cello Concerto
Describing itself as ‘the international orchestra of Elgar country’, it is fitting that this programme by the English Symphony Orchestra is bookended by two beloved works by Elgar. Alongside the enticing prospect of hearing Sheku Kanneh-Mason as soloist in the Cello Concerto, there is the chance to hear an acclaimed new orchestral rendering of the Piano Quintet. Elgar himself wrote of this work, composed a century ago in 1918, that it ‘runs gigantically and in a large mood’. So it is perhaps unsurprising how well it works in what a recent Gramophone review describes as ‘a richly upholstered orchestration’ – whilst also managing to be ‘astutely appreciative of the simmering passion and sense of loss that permeate this wistful creation.’
Complementing these quintessentially English works is the world premiere of a new symphony by another composer with a distinctively English sensibility, David Matthews.
‘Woods makes a fine case for expanding the late Piano Quintet into something that sounds like a three movement Fourth Symphony. Fraser’s orchestration fills out Elgar’s spare writing with great pomp and circumstance, and the finale sounds exhilaratingly Elgarian.’ THE SUNDAY TIMES