Sketches for Elgar’s Third Symphony to be auctioned

Archive of composer's manuscripts and scores to be sold

Two manuscripts containing sketches for Elgar’s Third Symphony are to be auctioned in London on 22 November.

The sketches are part of an archive being sold by Mrs Vera Hockman, with whom Elgar fell in love in 1931. His wife Alice had died in 1920 and the composer had written very little until he met Mrs Hockman during a rehearsal for The Dream of Gerontius. The pair spent much of the rest of Elgar’s life together.

The Third Symphony was completed by Anthony Payne in 2000, using the existing score and sketches, and the work contains a theme dedicated to Mrs Hockman. The two manuscripts for sale this month bear the inscription ‘1st sketch of VH’s [Vera Hockman’s] own theme above.’ The composer has also added ‘Will never be finished’.

Other items in the archive, which is expected to fetch between £8,000 and £10,000, include a printed Novello score of his work The Music Makers on which the composer has circled the words 'And a singer who sings no more' and written 'i.e. Edward Elgar 1932'; and an album of photographs of her life with the composer.

Proceeds from the sale, to take place at Bonhams, London, will go towards funding Mrs Hockman’s great granddaughter’s studies at the Royal College of Music.

Adam Purnell