About the Piece

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.


2 Flutes
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets
2 Bassoons
4 Horns
2 Trumpets
3 Trombones

About the Composer

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was born in London, the son of a West African father and English mother. Early in his life, his father, a doctor, unable to make a success in Britain, returned to Sierra Leone. The boy showed talent on the violin from the age of five, and by 1890, with generous backing from a Presbyterian choirmaster, entered the Royal College of Music, studying with Charles Villiers Stanford. Elgar called him “far and away the cleverest fellow going among the younger men”. The Hiawatha trilogy made his name and performances were so plentiful that with Mendelssohn’s Elijah it held second place only to Messiah in the hearts of choral societies the length of the country. He died in Croydon at the age of only 37 before his full potential as a composer could be fulfilled. [from Good Music Publishing]

Performance Materials

Performance materials, including score and parts, are available HERE.


A MIDI recording is available HERE.

Note: There are currently no commercially available recordings. Please notify us if one becomes available.