Elgar: Music for Powick Asylum

Music from the young Elgar for an asylum band. Classic FM Drive Featured Album, 24 March 2014.

In January 1879, the 21-year-old Edward Elgar was appointed Bandmaster at the Worcester County and City Asylum in the village of Powick. Elgar’s ensemble had its origins in a brass band, founded with instruments bought out of asylum funds. The enlightened doctors there were in no doubt that the music had a therapeutic effect on their patients and they therefore encouraged the young composer to get very involved in the life of the institution.

This album is a collection of the music Elgar composed whilst at Powick, all performed by the Innovation Chamber Ensemble - all members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - and many of the pieces here are world premiere recordings. The music is far from mature Elgar but has a lot charm and is very well played; and full marks to the performers and record company for bringing this rare music to light.