Meetings

Elgar’s Oratorios as Wagnerian Music Drama

Elgar’s Oratorios as Wagnerian Music Drama

The young Edward Elgar was a passionate devotee of Wagnerian music drama, to a degree unusual in the conservative musical atmosphere of Victorian England. Michael’s lecture will explore some of the connections between Wagner and Elgar’s own work, with particular reference to his turn-of-the-century oratorios, The Apostles and The Kingdom, which he envisaged as the first two panels of a Wagnerian trilogy. For reasons both personal and musical, The Last Judgement, which would have concluded the ‘gigantic work’, was never composed, though Elgar continued to work on the ideas he had sketched for it with the intention of incorporating them in his Third Symphony, also destined never to be completed.

Michael Downes became the University of St Andrew’s first full-time Director of Music in 2008, having previously held a similar post at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He read English and Music at King’s College, Cambridge and completed a doctorate on Debussy at the University of Sussex. Michael has lectured on opera and music for bodies including the Royal Opera House, English National Opera and English Touring Opera; the Britten Sinfonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra; the Glyndebourne, Wexford, Huddersfield Contemporary Music and Edinburgh International festivals; and Martin Randall Travel. He regularly reviews books on music and opera for the Times Literary Supplement and writes programme notes for organisations including the CBSO and Aldeburgh Music; he has collaborated on a books with Nike Wagner, great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner.

Monday 9th December at 6.30p.m. in the Friends’ Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS.