Edward Elgar

Throwback Thursdays: Elgar’s Serenade

Discover more about the music we have performed with Firebird in this special lockdown series…

Today we explore the beautiful Serenade for Strings by Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934). 

This was filmed at St George’s Hanover Square on Thursday 22 October 2020 with George Jackson conducting the London Firebird Orchestra.

Conductor George Jackson tells us more about the fabulous central movement – the Larghetto …

Elgar composed his famous Serenade for Strings in E minor Op. 20, in March 1892. The composer conducted the first performance in private at the Worcester Ladies’ Orchestral Class. It was to be another four years before the first public performance took place in Antwerp in Belgium. He dedicated the work to the organ builder and amateur musician Edward W. Whinfield. 

However,  it is thought that the Serenade was a reworking of a suite from many years earlier and may even be part of one of the very first works ever written by Elgar.

Maybe that is why the work has a certain youthful charm with the central Larghetto generally regarded as containing some of Elgar’s most enduring writing and among the most frequently performed of all his music.

Did you know…

Elgar was not the only famous composer to write a Serenade for Strings. Both Tchaikovsky and Dvořák had written works with the same title in 1880 and 1885 respectively. Both of these also remain some of the most popular work for this genre to this day.

Watch the complete concert performed by the London Firebird Orchestra conducted by George Jackson. Elgar’s Serenade starts at 17:14