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Cantique, Opus 3, No. 1

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (11/25/15)
Composer: Elgar, Edward
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Romantic
I've had this piece for years, but never played it. It's found as the first piece in the "Elgar Organ Album", published by Novello in 1977. This piece is VERY typical of the "heroic style" of Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934), and is dedicated, "To my friend Hugh Blair". Although it was first published in 1913, the early opus number may "label it" as a "young" work.

(I just discovered that this was written in 1879, and arranged for organ in 1912.)

It is VERY different than what the name "Cantique" calls to mind. To me, that would indicate a lyric and flowing piece.


Although this is exceptionally tuneful, it's an Edwardian march to be sure, and works perfectly on a big Willis like Hereford.

The dedicatee, Hugh Blair (25 May 1864 – 22 July 1932) was born in Worcester, and was a chorister at the cathedral. He was organ scholar at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. 1886, Mus.B. 1887, M.A. 1896 and Mus.D. 1906. He was Organist of Worcester Cathedral from 1895 to 1897, having been Acting Organist before that time.

Blair wrote quite a lot of pieces, but he is chiefly remember for his excellent "Magnificat & Nunc dimittis in B minor," which is certainly in the repertoire of every Anglican cathedral. He also wrote a splendid, "Short Sonata in G major," which I really should learn.

It is odd that Elgar was THE "state composer" of his day, since he was a life-long Roman Catholic, and suffered more than a little discrimination because of it.

The piece at hand, "Cantique" is just about as British as it gets, and will certainly call to mind the feelings of King and Empire.

Right then. Swagger sticks at the ready. Off we go lads!
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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