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23rd May, 2022

Sir Edward Elgar celebration set for Malvern and Worcester during jubilee weekend

Rob George 18th Nov, 2021 Updated: 20th Nov, 2021

A CELEBRATION of the music of Sir Edward Elgar will return on the Platinum Jubilee weekend in 2022 after a triumphant return following the pandemic.

Elgar Festival chiefs revealed the 2022 return to Worcester and Malvern from June 2 to 5, the same weekend as the country celebrates 70 years since Her Majesty the Queen ascended to the throne.

Highlights already announced include major orchestral and choral works by Elgar including his Symphony No.1 and ‘The Spirit of England’; a world premiere by David Matthews, and a performance of Ian Venables’ new Requiem together with Club Elgar and a young composer’s competition.

Since its inauguration in 2018 – lauded as ‘Critic’s Pick’ in both The Guardian and The Times – the Elgar Festival has doubled in size and scale through an innovative development programme of broad appeal.

This year’s celebrations focused on coming back together as a community following the long and difficult time of separation and isolation.

“The fact we pulled it off made it all the more amazing given just how challenging things are right now” said Kenneth Woods, artistic director and conductor of the resident English Symphony Orchestra.

“Everything is more difficult and more expensive than two years ago when we last had a festival here and the arena is more crowded and competitive.”

Organisers were heartened to see a full house in the very building – Worcester Cathedral – where the final version of Elgar’s Enigma Variations received its first performance.

“Nothing in these last months has meant as much as performing ‘Enigma’, with the full band playing like angels, said Mr Woods.

“Elgar’s masterpiece reminds us of the enduring power of the forces of fellowship and love which connect us, and it was heart-warming to see a significant number of new faces in the audience, some having travelled from as far as Cumbria.”

Amongst the outstanding performances given were from cellist Raphael Wallfisch with the English Symphony Strings in Elgar miniatures and the Misha Mullov-Abbado Group, taking part in the Festival’s first ever late-evening Club Elgar of relaxed genre-bending music.

Mark Wilde and pianist David Owen Norris took to the stage to perform the premiere of a new song-cycle by Worcester’s own composer, Ian Venables.

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