The Elgar Cello Concerto was not always as popular as it is today; from the 1960s it became a regular at the proms capturing the audiences’ imagination through the Jacqueline du Pre/ Daniel Barenboim partnership. Later on a Julian Lloyd Webber’s performance further enhanced its popularity. However the cello concerto’s premiere in 1920 was a considered a bit of a disaster and a pointer towards a decline in Elgar’s reputation in his latter years.
Nevertheless the town of Hastings kept faith with Elgar, who was a prime guest of honour at the inaugural festival for the purpose-built White Rock Pavilion in 1927. The Hastings Municipal Orchestra produced two memorable performances of Elgar’s Cello Concerto at the White Rock Pavilion in the 1930s: in 1937 with Pablo Casals as soloist and in 1931 with his pupil Gaspar Cassado. Hastings loved the cello, judging by the popularity of Paul Tortelier’s visits in 1952 and 1953 when he joined in Hastings music festivals but not, this time, with Elgar’s music.
The Hastings Philharmonic wishes to play a part in restoring Hastings’ reputation as a centre of excellence for classical music, something that has been reinforced especially by the growing reputation of the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition. This first link between the Peasmarsh Festival and Hastings Philharmonic will make this concert a milestone event and the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra performance of Tchaikovsky’s popular 5th Symphony at the same concert will add to the attraction of this much anticipated occasion.
HASTINGS PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Richard Lester – Cello
Marcio da Silva – Conductor
Cello Concerto Elgar
Symphony no.5 Tchaikovsky
At St Mary in the Castle, Pelham Crescent, Hastings, 7pm, Saturday 14th April