Trio puts on a showcase of Elgar’s songs

Review by Marrion Wells: The Songs of Edward Elgar, Linda Grace, Duncan Reid and Wendy Wasels, All Saints Church, Friday, August 5

MOST know Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory, the first of five Pomp and Circumstance marches, a sixth being discovered recently.

The fourth also was given a lyric in the 1940s, appropriately titled Song of Liberty.

What most don’t know is that Elgar also wrote some very tuneful songs, a selection of which two of the founder members of Hastings Baroque Opera Live, mezzo-soprano Linda Grace and keyboard-accompanist Duncan Reid presented in the fine acoustics of All Saints Church as part of Old Town Carnival Week.

Linda opened with three contrasting pieces, There are Seven that Pull the Thread, Like to the Damask Rose, and Queen Mary’s Song. Guest mezzo-soprano Wendy Wasels complemented these in lighter vein with The Shepherd’s Song.

Linda returned with Come Gentle Night and Pleading, with Wendy creating a more ethereal mood with In Moonlight. Linda closed with from Sea Pictures, the Sea Slumber Song, and the best-known of Elgar’s compositions for voice Where Corals Lie.

Duncan at the keyboard gave firm but unobtrusive support throughout the accompaniments.

The trio’s combined talents were greatly appreciated by the audience, demonstrated by their donations on leaving for All Saints Church Funds.

Linda and Duncan had obviously devoted much thought to devising a charming introduction to this aspect of Elgar’s work, within little over half an hour’s lunchtime, its softly reflective mood providing a complete contrast to the more extrovert aspects of the carnival.