I arrived safe and sound here in Wolverhampton and, with my gracious host, enjoyed a lovely evening walk in the park and a pint of real ale while listening to the not-so-far-off cries of the Wolves fans – that’s the local soccer team. I’m staying in the house where Percy Young wrote many of his books – both the musicological ones and the ones about his beloved football team, the Wolverhampton Wanderers (alias the Wolves.) I am allowed to play Elgar’s piano in the front room – a piano given to Percy Young by Elgar’s daughter. Puchased by Elgar in 1902, this piano lived in Plas Gwyn, Elgar’s Hereford home, and was the piano he composed at while writing many of his greatest works, including The Kingdom (1906) which sends a bit of a shiver down my spine! I played through the first scene of The Kingdom this morning before setting out to start on my own work.
The front room is stacked high with books and scores and furnished with high-backed chairs with turned wooden legs. There are many other bits of Elgar memorablia here, including paintings, parts and scores, and the best of all – Elgar’s shaving mirror!
We’re off to bell-ringing practice tonight, and I’m hoping some of the players will let me film them.