“History has a habit of leaving us a trail of leading lights and cameo figures, successful in their time but forgotten today. Was George Chadwick one of these? Did the genius of Elgar leave him in the shade?”
Edward Elgar and George Chadwick
Exploring the New England Connection
George Chadwick and Edward Elgar lived almost parallel lives on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Born in Massachusetts in 1854, Chadwick was Elgar’s senior by three years. Chadwick was highly regarded in his role as director of the New England Conservatory and as a member of the ‘Boston Six’ – a group of ambitious New England composers responsible for creating the first canon of America’s classical music. But it was international recognition as a great composer that he sought most.
Elgar, on the other hand, maintained a lifelong suspicion of academics, yet it was he who rose from struggling musician to one of the most venerated composers of his era with the success in 1899 of his Enigma Variations – he became everything Chadwick wanted to be. By this time, Chadwick had already composed three symphonies, his Symphonic Sketches and much more.
There was clear tension between the two, and as Elgar became celebrated in America as well as Europe, Chadwick couldn’t disguise his jealousy – he attempted to enter into correspondence with Elgar on several occasions, but received little by way of reply. When the two did meet in London in 1906, Chadwick commented: “I’m not quite prepared to recognize him as the great genius that his cult would make him out.”
On this recording, Andrew Constantine explores the dynamic between these two composers through two of their most substantial works: Chadwick’s Symphonic Sketches with Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
About Andrew Constantine
British conductor Andrew Constantine currently serves as music director of both the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra and Reading Symphony Orchestra in the United States and was previously associate conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He began his conducting career in Leicester with the Bardi Orchestra and was later awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music degree by the University of Leicester for his “services to music.” After winning the first Donatella Flick Conducting Competition he studied at the Leningrad State Conservatory with the legendary teacher Ilya Musin who described him as, a “brilliant representative of the conducting art”, and at the Academia Chigiana in Siena. Prior to his move to the US in 2004 he had already gained an enviable reputation as a conductor of great style and charisma, and also performed and recorded with most of the prestigious London orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic. With a strong commitment to education and to bringing great music to as wide an audience as possible, Andrew Constantine has developed numerous creative and innovative programs and was awarded a British NESTA Fellowship in recognition of his achievements.
Andrew's Website: www.andrewconstantine.com
About BBC National Orchestra of Wales
BBC National Orchestra of Wales gave its first performance in April 1928 and occupies a special role as both a broadcast orchestra and the national symphony orchestra of Wales. The Orchestra is supported by the Arts Council of Wales.
The Orchestra is based at BBC Hoddinott Hall, which is named after Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott, and is part of the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.
The Orchestra presents an annual season at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, where it is Orchestra-in-Residence, as well as concerts in venues across Wales and beyond; including annual performances at the BBC Proms and biannually at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.
As one of the six BBC Performing Groups the Orchestra has a busy schedule of recordings, broadcasts and concerts, for BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC television. The Orchestra can also be heard on a number of BBC programmes, providing the music for the BBC Natural History Unit’s Hidden Kingdoms, BBC Cymru Wales’s Atlantis and of course as the Doctor Who orchestra.
Orchestra's Website: www.bbc.co.uk/bbcnow
George Whitefield Chadwick
1. Jubilee - Allegro molto vivace
2. Noël - Andante con tenerezza
3. Hobgoblin. Scherzo Capriccioso - Allegro vivace
4. A Vagrom Ballad - Moderato. Alla Burla.
Variations on an Original Theme ‘Enigma’ Op.36
6. I – C.A.E. (Caroline Alice Elgar)
7. II – H.D.S-P. (Hew David Steuart-Powell)
8. III – R.B.T. (Richard Baxter Townshend)
9. IV – W.M.B. (William Meath Baker)
10. V – R.P.A. (Richard Penrose Arnold)
11. VI – Ysobel (Isabel Fitton)
12. VII – Troyte (Arthur Troyte Griffith)
13. VIII – W.N. (Winifred Norbury)
14. IX – Nimrod (Augustus J. Jaeger)
15. X – Intermezzo: Dorabella (Dora Penny)
16. XI – G.R.S. (George Robertson Sinclair)
17. XII – B.G.N. (Basil George Nevinson)
18. XIII – Romanza: ***
19. XIV – Finale: E.D.U.