Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Elgar: Falstaff Symphonic Study, Op. 68
Elgar: Enigma Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36
Elgar: Pomp & Circumstance March No. 5, Op. 39
Elgar composed Falstaff in 1913, though he made some sketches in 1902 (the year after Cockaigne, with which Falstaff has several affinities). In his detailed and indispens able analytical note, he emphasised that the listener should forget the buffoon of The Merry Wives of Windsor and concentrate on the Falstaff of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V. He cites Maurice Morgann's description of Falstaff as "a conception hardly less complex, hardly less wonderful than that of Hamlet" made "wholly of incongruities... a knight, a gentleman and a soldier, without either dignity, decency or honour". Elgar was equally complex, and the work is another, perhaps the greatest, addition to his musical portrait-gallery in which there was always room for self-portraits. Falstaff's quixotic humour, his dreams of the innocence of youth beyond recall, his delight at being in the apple orchards of the Severn country, are Elgar’s too. This is Elgar's Falstaff rather than Shakespeare's.