ED­WARD EL­GAR Sa­lut d’Amour

This month Bridget Mermikides ar­ranges and tran­scribes Ed­ward El­gar’s stun­ningly beau­ti­ful Sa­lut D’Amour.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Bridget Mermikides ar­ranges and tran­scribes an­other beau­ti­ful piece from one of the most typ­i­cally ‘English’ of all the com­posers.

In this in­stal­ment of our clas­si­cal guitar se­ries we re­turn to the work of one of Eng­land’s most cel­e­brated com­posers, Ed­ward El­gar (1857-1934) whose Nim­rod (from the Enigma Variations) ap­peared in GT225. El­gar was in­spired by the great ro­man­tic com­posers of con­ti­nen­tal Europe (in­clud­ing Brahms, Schu­mann and Wag­ner) but some­how man­aged to de­velop this style into an in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic – and now icon­i­cally English – mu­si­cal voice.

De­spite writ­ing some of Eng­land’s most rous­ing and bom­bas­tic pieces such as the (very Proms-friendly) Pomp and Cir­cum­stance Marches, El­gar was, in fact, a deeply sen­si­tive, hum­ble and me­lan­cholic char­ac­ter. This is re­flected in many of his works, in­clud­ing the one we are look­ing at here, Sa­lut d’Amour, Opus 12.

Writ­ten in York­shire for vi­o­lin and piano in 1888 (and ar­ranged for orches­tra a year later), this piece was com­posed as an en­gage­ment present to his fi­ancée Caro­line Alice Roberts (she had writ­ten him a poem in re­turn). The piece had the ded­i­ca­tion ‘à Carice’ – a con­trac­tion of her two first names and the ti­tle (orig­i­nally writ­ten in Ger­man, Liebe­gruss) trans­lates ap­pro­pri­ately to ‘love’s greet­ing’. In­ci­den­tally, he also en­tered the piece for a com­pos­ing com­pe­ti­tion and won £5 (£2,600 in to­day’s money). It was later pub­lished by Schott who changed the ti­tle to its cur­rent French ver­sion as they thought it would sell more.

Writ­ten in a lilt­ing 2/4 rhythm this piece has an ex­quis­ite sim­plic­ity and lyri­cal melody and has since been ar­ranged suc­cess­fully for a whole range of in­stru­men­tal com­bi­na­tions, which made the pos­si­bil­ity of adapt­ing it for solo clas­si­cal guitar so at­trac­tive. The orig­i­nal was writ­ten in E ma­jor, which is usu­ally a great key for the guitar, but I’ve opted for D ma­jor in drop D tuning, which makes the fre­quent ‘root-V’ bass move­ments more id­iomatic and adds an ap­pro­pri­ate warm res­o­nance. The piece fits re­ally well on the guitar, but like any solo guitar piece, has its share of chal­lenges in the bal­anc­ing of mul­ti­ple voices and main­tain­ing a smooth un­in­ter­rupted melody over the ac­com­pa­ni­ment. I’ve ad­dressed the chief tech­ni­cal con­cerns in the tab cap­tions to guide you through your prac­tice ses­sions.

dE­SpitE writ­ing SomE of our moSt rouS­ing And bom­bAS­tic piEcES, El­gAr wAS, in fAct, A hum­blE And mE­lAn­cholic chAr­Ac­tEr

NEXT MONTH Bridget ar­ranges and tran­scribes Tchaikovsky’s Dance Of The Lit­tle Swans

El­gar: one of Eng­land’s most cel­e­brated com­posers

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