Forgotten Samuel Coleridge-Taylor work revived at Three Choirs Festival

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Solemn Prelude will be performed at this year's Three Choirs Festival in a new edition – after the full scores were lost after its premiere a century ago

Booking-Brochure-2021-cropped

A forgotten work by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor will be brought to life at this year’s Three Choirs Festival, over a century after its premiere. Solemn Prelude received its premiere at the festival in 1899 under the baton of the composer himself, alongside the new version of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. 

Advertisement

Elgar had recommended Coleridge-Taylor to the festival’s organising committee, with the composer soon becoming a festival favourite. The premiere of Solemn Prelude followed the success of his Ballade in A, which received its first outing at the festival the year before. He was one of just seven composers at the time to have concert works premiered in all the festival’s three host cities.

Despite a successful premiere of Solemn Prelude in 1899, the full score was never published and the orchestral material was lost, with only the composer’s own piano reduction ever released.

A new edition of the work based on Coleridge-Taylor’s manuscript of Solemn Prelude has been created for this year’s Three Choirs Festival. The original manuscript is currently held in the British Library, with this new version published by Faber Music.

The piece was discovered by the festival’s volunteer archivist when collating previous premieres from the festival’s conception over 300 years ago, as part of last year’s ‘virtual festival’.

The Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by David Hill in the performance at this year’s festival, with further performances planned with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra for future seasons.

The performance of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Solemn Prelude  will take place at Worcester Cathedral on Tuesday 27 July, in a programme with Elgar’s Enigma Variations and a new commission by Gabriel Jackson, titled The World Imagined. 

We named Samuel Coleridge-Taylor as one of the best black and minority ethnic composers you should know about.

We also included the composer’s London home in our round-up of the best blue plaques for composers and musicians in the UK.

Advertisement

We named the Three Choirs Festival one of the best classical music festivals in the UK

Read our reviews of the latest Coleridge-Taylor recordings