Sheku Kanneh-Mason explores Elgar’s hometown in the Malvern Hills on Countryfile

The young British cellist joined Matt Baker and Anita Rani on this week's episode of Countryfile to celebrate the life and work of his favourite composer, Sir Edward Elgar

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Sheku Kanneh-Mason performs with the Chineke! London Contemporary Orchestra at Southbank Centre on May 28, 2021 in London, England. The performance is part of the Southbank Centre: Summer Reunion which marks the return of an audience for the first time since March 2020. (Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images)

Sheku Kanneh-Mason appeared on this week’s edition of Countryfile on BBC One, joining Matt Baker in the Malvern Hills – the hometown of his favourite composer, Sir Edward Elgar.

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The 22-year-old cellist also played Countryfile presenters Matt Baker and Anita Rani an excerpt from Elgar’s Cello Concerto at St Wulstan’s Church, the composer’s resting place at the foot of the Malvern Hills. ‘Elgar’s Cello Concerto was always my favourite piece of music and I was always drawn to it,’ he told Baker.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason is best known for his appearance at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018, having previously risen to fame as the 2016 winner of BBC Young Musician. Since then, he has gone on to release recordings of works by Shostakovich and Elgar. Together with his six talented siblings, he has performed across the UK and released a debut Kanneh-Mason family album, featuring Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals

Despite being a long-time admirer of Elgar’s music, it was Kanneh-Mason’s first trip to the Malvern Hills. ‘When you come to places like this, it adds another layer or another dimension – another connection to the piece of music,’ he says.

Matt Baker also met Dawn Middleton, gardener at Elgar’s birthplace, ‘The Firs’. We recently named ‘The Firs’ as one of the best National Trust properties for classical music lovers to visit in the UK. She introduced audiences to the statue of Elgar at ‘The Firs’, in which Elgar is gazing into the distance of the Malvern Hills.

The episode also looked at the life and work of writers JRR Tolkein and CS Lewis, who found inspiration in the beauty of the Malvern Hills.

You can catch up on this episode of Countryfile with cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason on BBC iPlayer now.

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Read more: Our friends over at BBC Countryfile Magazine have written a guide to the best walks and days out in the Malvern Hills. Plus, find out more about how the Malvern Hills inspired CS Lewis, JRR Tolkein and Edward Elgar to create some of the greatest works in the English canon.