Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Idyll, Op. 44 [Editor: Rotem Weinberg]
Coleridge-Taylor composed his orchestral Idyll (Op.44) for a performance at the 1901 Gloucester Festival, part of the renowned Three Choirs Festival. This well attended event included premiers and performances of recent choral and orchestral works by the leading British composers of the day, alongside classics such as Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. The premiere took place on the morning concert of September 11, 1901 (both morning and evening concerts were presented on each one of the festival’s 4 days) in the Gloucester cathedral, conducted by Coleridge-Taylor himself (as was customary).
By this time, Coleridge-Taylor was already a well established popular composer, both in England and the United States, known mainly for his three cantata cycle The Song of Hiawatha (1898-1900). He was supported by Edward Elgar, the leading British composer of the day, who recommended him to the Three Choirs Festival of 1898 where his orchestral Ballade (op.33) was premiered and met with great success. He was also published by London’s largest publisher, Novello and Co. For unknow reasons, Coleridge-Taylor did not compose a whole new piece for the 1901 festival, but reworked the 2nd movement of his student-days’ symphony, Op.8 (1896). The movement was originally titled Lament, a title Coleridge-Taylor omitted before the premiere of the symphony. For the reworking of the movement as Idyll, Coleridge-Taylor revised the structure and many other details of melody, harmony, and orchestration, as well as added parts for tuba and harp.
Program notes by Rotem Weinberg. Additional information available HERE.