Tell us more about the connection between George Chadwick and Edward Elgar, and Chadwick’s contribution to musical life in New England.
It’s both simple and complicated. Elgar was everything Chadwick wanted to be but wasn’t, a world renowned composer. Being held in high regard in the US at the end of the nineteenth century wasn’t enough for him. Both composers made numerous visits across the Atlantic – Chadwick to encourage performances of his music, Elgar to receive honorary degree – yet, bearing in mind they both were their country’s leaders in their field and they had ample opportunity to meet, contact was remarkably minimal. I feel from the correspondence and diaries I’ve read that Chadwick would have loved to have had an ongoing relationship with Elgar.
Moments after ascending the podium at the Reading Symphony Orchestra’s Oct. 11 season-opening concert, music director and conductor Andrew Constantine waved a smartphone at the audience. It’s a gesture now familiar to concertgoers everywhere, who of course expected to be gently admonished on the dire consequences of not turning off any and all electronic devices immediately, if not sooner.
Constantine, an Englishman with strong American connections (he is music director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and of the Reading Symphony Orchestra), leads an impressive account of Elgar’s masterpiece – deeply-felt (not least ‘Nimrod’), insightful, vividly detailed, expressively glowing – one to shortlist, and as superbly played as it is recorded: I have returned to it several times with undiminished admiration.