Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Edward Elgar/Anthony Payne: Symphony No. 3 for Piano Solo


When Elgar died in 1934, around 130 pages of sketches of a 3rd Symphony were left. Elgar's daughter Carice agreed with the BBC that the sketches would go to the British Library, and that they should remain unpublished and untouched. In 1972, Anthony Payne came across the sketches and began to work on them privately. Twenty years later, the BBC asked Payne to present a workshop performance of the sketches. Following the success of the broadcast, and while Payne was further privately working on the piece, the Elgar family decided to commission a complete version of the Symphony. The premiere of Payne's work in 1998 was a triumph, and the Symphony has been performed hundreds of times around the world since.

In Anthony Payne's book on his completion, many of the sketches are published, showing them to be in a two-stave short score, ideal for a performance on the piano. Elgar often composed and improvised at the piano, and he performed much of the work on the piano to his friends. This piano arrangement is intended as if one was hearing Elgar playing the work himself, privately working on his last masterpiece. Some of the musical ideas seem to spring from the piano, and the Elgar’s later terse style is relatively straightforward to capture as piano textures. The Third Symphony with its exuberance and profundity stands out as a masterpiece of Elgar's last years, and this version is for any pianist interested in exploring Elgar’s music.


Published by Boosey and Hawkes and available from music stores.