Renee organized a Saturday music lunch party. She prepared all the food herself (well, OK, I cut some veggies, but that hardly counts) including three choices of pudding! The musical highlight of the afternoon was a performance of Elgar’s violin sonata played by Michael Jones and David Gregory (David plays in the Birmingham S.O. ) performed of course on Elgar’s piano. They also played some lighter Elgar for us, and I was pressed into playing a duet arrangement of Salut d’Amour with Mike Smith. (I felt like a character from a Jane Austin novel, apologizing for my lack of talent in such an accomplished assembly.) Michael Jones knows everything there is to know about every British composer you can think of or can’t think of. He is an amazing source of knowledge and introduced me to several women composers I’d never heard of. He is a particular connoisseur of Edgar Bainton who was in a WWI prison camp in Germany (Ruhleben) where he met a young Canadian named Ernest MacMillan. This would be unbelievable, but I have seen photographs in the National Archive in Ottawa that show the musical productions that went on in this camp!
The same evening St. Peter’s Church Wolverhampton gave an all-Elgar concert under the direction of their tireless and hard-working organist Peter Morris. This included not only the church choir of men, boys and girls, but the full Wolverhampton Symphony Orchestra playing the Enigma variations. This is an amateur orchestra which includes some experienced players and a lot of young people. It was heart-warming to see the generations mixing, the older players passing on their wisdom to the enthusiastic youngsters. This concert got a lot of press and TV attention since the theme of the evening was to show links between the local soccer team and Elgar who loved football (that is soccer) and wrote a football chant. The entire text is “He banged the leather for goal.”