Although cast in the traditional three movements, Concerto after Elgar contains little that is traditional in form in any of its movements, any more than is the case in Elgar's own concertos. Each movement in the work contains a sequence of slower and faster sections, and each begins with an orchestral introduction and ends with a quick flurry of notes. The second movement is essentially two movements conflated into one, merging a noble slow movement with a quicksilver scherzo.
Stylistically, Canfield states that he sought to mimic Elgar through certain harmonic and melodic sequences, including a bit of use of his trademark melodic descending minor seventh, and employed Elgar's habit of frequently changing the tempo and tonal regions, often to distantly related areas of harmony from that of the fundamental key of each movement. The listener will note Canfield’s attempt in the last movement to create a new "Pomp and Circumstance March" in further homage to the great English master, who wrote six such marches. Canfield also sought to reflect Elgar's penchant for puns and enigmas, and incorporated about a dozen short quotes (or "musical puns") from this great composer's body of works, hiding them at various points in the score.
Concerto after Elgar for Viola and Orchestra is approximately 33 minutes. It was premiered by Csaba Erdelyi, viola, in 2019 at the University of Illinois with the Sinfonia da Camera, Ian Hobson, conductor.
This version for orchestra accompaniment is scored for 2 each of flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons; 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, and strings (6-6-5-4-3). The set includes parts (including the solo) and a full score.
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Concerto after Elgar for Viola and Orchestra is also available separately in a piano reduction of the accompaniment (JP9022)
Publisher’s Note: There are 2 separate versions of “Concerto after Elgar” for viola solo and alto saxophone solo. Canfield intended these two versions to be individual works, taking into consideration the differences in the characteristics of the viola and saxophone, and not viewing the two versions as simple transcriptions. The lengths are also significantly different with the saxophone version about 2/3 that of the viola version.
Both versions have accompaniments available for full orchestra and piano reduction. Each version was personalized for its dedicatee, Csaba Erdelyi (viola) and Kenneth Tse (saxophone).
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