Elgar In the South, Op. 50

In the South (Alassio), Op. 50, is a concert overture composed by Edward Elgar during a family holiday in Italy in the winter of 1903 to 1904 and dedicated to Leo F. Schuster. The subtitle Alassio refers to the town on the Italian Riviera where Elgar and his family stayed. He strolled around during the visit, while  the landscape and history of the town provided him the inspiration. The première was given by the Hallé Orchestra in 1904, the third day of an "Elgar Festival" at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. It was to have been conducted by Hans Richter, but as Elgar did not have the score ready in time for Richter to study it before the performance, Elgar conducted the orchestra himself. Perhaps the best known part of the piece is the central serenade played by a solo viola. In July of the same year, Elgar took this section from the piece and fitted it to a poem by Shelley as a song under the title In Moonlight. Later he made several instrumental versions titled Canto Popolare. The overture is about 20 minutes long and does not have separate movements. The main descending theme is echoed throughout the sections of the orchestra all through the piece. The viola solo is of particular note due partly to its length, being on such an underused instrument, but also because of the contrast it creates with the rest of the piece which is very bold. The work is written for a full symphony orchestra consisting of 3 flutes (3rd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, 3 timpani, percussion (bass drum, cymbals, side drum, triangle and glockenspiel), harp and the string section.
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Recordings

In the South, Op.50 - Canto popolare (For Piano solo - Elgar)
In the south, piano arr.

Samples

In the South, Op. 50
In the South, Op. 50

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