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Organ Sonata No.1 in G Major Op.28

Sonata in G major, Op 28 Edward Elgar (1857-1934) Allegro maestoso - Allegretto - Andante espressivo - Presto (comodo) Although he was a church organist in his home town of Worcester in his youth, Elgar was never naturally attracted to writing for the piano or the organ, and this gloriously tuneful and colourful sonata is his only major keyboard work. It was composed at very short notice especially for a recital in Worcester Cathedral in July 1895 arranged in honour of a party of American tourists. Unfortunately the cathedral organist did not have time to learn it properly and made "a terrible mess" of the premiere - but with typical good humour Elgar "refused to blame the murderer, who had not had time thoroughly to study the victim", and the sonata survived this unpromising start to become firmly established as one of the high points of the English organ repertoire, standing head and shoulders above most of the faded Victorian church music of its time. Even when he was writing for the keyboard, Elgar could not help thinking in terms of the orchestra, and his sonata is unique in its kaleidoscopic variety of texture and tone-colour, and in the inexhaustible stream of melody that runs throughout its four movements - a majestic Allegro, a wistful Allegretto, a noble Andante of true Elgarian breadth, and a fiery Presto finale. David Gammie

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