Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations

Edward Gardner - Conductor

Paul Jacobs - Organ

program

Britten - Sinfonia da Requiem

Daugherty - Once Upon a Castle, for organ and orchestra

Elgar - “Enigma” Variations

Thursday, February 27, 2020

7:30 pm Verizon Hall

Benjamin Britten’s eloquent “plea for peace”—the Sinfonia da Requiem—was originally rejected by the Japanese government and eventually given its premiere in the U.S. in 1940, on the eve of World War II. Inspired by the theater organ in William Randolph Hearst’s San Simeon (fictionalized as Xanadu in Citizen Kane), Michael Daugherty’s lush Once Upon a Castle brings out what the composer calls the “Technicolor” nature of the instrument. And what exactly is Elgar's "enigma?" We may never know but we can still enjoy these 14 charming variations on a theme that Elgar composed "to my friends pictured within." British conductor Edward Gardner, chief conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic and principal conductor designate of the London Philharmonic, makes his Philadelphia Orchestra debut, and keyboard virtuoso Paul Jacobs returns to the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ.

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