ABOUT THE MUSIC - ELGAR ARR. FRASER: NURSERY SUITE (WORLD PREMIERE)“This remarkable work, one of the finest of Elgar’s last years, seemed a perfect fit for the celebrations of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee taking place the weekend of the 2022 Elgar Festival.
The very first professional film score I composed was recorded by the Sinfonia of London, conducted by Lawrence Leonard and with the flautist Edward (Eddie) Walker. I was just 19 at the time and was absolutely thrilled to talk with Eddie about the flute solo in the Nursery Suite that he recorded with Elgar himself. That was, indeed the recording attended by the then Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) and her two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. I had the privilege of conducting a program of Elgar’s music on the 50th. anniversary of his death at Westminster Abbey. The program was a Royal Gala event and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother graced the event with her presence. The program ended with the Envoy from the Nursery Suite. I have always thought that the violin solo was, in a way, Elgar reminiscing his earlier life as a violinist but also a ‘final farewell’ to us all. At the reception after the concert I was able to chat with the Queen Mother, the topic being the recording session of the Nursery Suite that she, our current Queen and and the late Princess Margaret attended. The session was conducted by Elgar himself and the Queen Mother’s keenest recollection was that he growled at the musicians! Qualified by her saying “more in a Tigger-ish sort of way than anything scary!” It was a pleasure to be asked by Kenneth Woods and the English Symphony to make an arrangement for strings for the Platinum Jubilee Elgar Festival, and of course a great privilege to have met two of those who were present at the premiere recording on May 23rd 1931….91 years ago! The Queen we celebrate today would have been just 5 years old!