Elgar and Sammons
One late to arrive at his success
One thrust into fame from childhood
Are forever linked in disembodied sound.
Composer and violinist
Offer up their piercing lyricism
Founded on thrilling attack:
Like wounded songbirds
They both sang their inner glory.
In 1914, the year of War
They made magic and deep mystery
Around the old man’s concerto
Each unafraid of the risk and the power
When its surging vocalise
Throbs with the energy of passion.
An angel sings in this work
Haunted by the fall and the longing
That inhabits the English soul
On this tragic quest
The besuited search for New Jerusalems:
The tendrils of despair and sacrifice
Were long unsheathed before the guns of War
Froze their wan smiles:
One in the studio
One on the music stands
Their shared invention glimmers
With the fleck of steel
That gives focus to the music
And cover for its deep intent.
The ineffable sadness
That skirts around their febrile skill
Is heard above the hiss and crackle.
Plasticity shapes the very cry
As love’s sage torment
Is trellised upon the treble clef
In melismatic sounds
Deep bedded in the composer’s ways:
Shadowing each other
In this legacy of recorded sound
Sang for different labels.
The tears still flow for their musical craft
The shellac traces their rapt world
Across the library walls
With a warm golden light
On this quintessential English dream
Tender, deep hearted, proud
Sung like the sweetest bird song
A lark on high
Throbbing with forgiveness and belief.
Then, a finale that races the heart
Its quicksilver plucked from the air
Release soars above the moment
[Elgar Violin Concerto - first complete recording, March/April 1929]
Gar Jones: May 2017