Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Edward Elgar: Symphony No. 2 in E flat for Piano Solo

After the outstanding success of Elgar’s First Symphony in 1908, the composer was at the peak of his popularity, with critical success and growing international acclaim. Full of confidence, a Second Symphony soon followed, premiered in 1911. It was dedicated to the memory of King Edward VII who had died in May 1910, and to whom the symphony was originally planned as a tribute. Those expecting the ringing, positive outcome of the First Symphony were disappointed. Although relatively well received, the Symphony lacked the success of earlier works, Elgar complaining that the audience were like “stuffed pigs.” The world was quickly changing and Elgar’s score reflects the tensions of the era. It was not until after the chaos of the First World War that the questioning nature of the Symphony was fully appreciated. The work is possibly his richest and most complex, both musically and emotionally, encompassing the heights of joy to the depths of despair.

This piano arrangement is a fully playable and sympathetic version of the score, that attempts to capture the colours, emotions and sweep of the original. Although at times virtuosic, the textures are at the service of the music, and never for empty showmanship. The arrangement can be enjoyed by pianists who appreciate Elgar’s music and want to experience first hand this glorious work.

Available to purchase from Aria Editions here

Listen to a performance of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th movements here:

Recording available. Details here.