This summer in Worcester, the Three Choirs Festival will revive a forgotten orchestral work by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, over a century after its premiere.
Solemn Prelude was commissioned by the Three Choirs Festival and received its first performance in Worcester on 13 September 1899, conducted by the composer. While Coleridge-Taylor’s own piano reduction of the work was released at the time of premiere, the full score was never published and the orchestral material was lost. Investigations by Three Choirs Festival CEO, Alexis Paterson, revealed that the original manuscript was housed in the British Library. When she and Worcester Artistic Director, Samuel Hudson, began replanning the postponed festival for 2021, a revival of this forgotten work became an obvious avenue to pursue.
Faber Music's new edition of the work – based on the composer’s manuscript – was created especially for this 2021 Three Choirs Festival revival, where it will be performed in Worcester Cathedral on 27 July with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by David Hill. Full details of the performance can be found here.
Further performances are being planned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Dr Alexis Paterson, Three Choirs Festival Chief Executive, said: ‘We are incredibly proud of the festival’s tradition of championing new music, but subsequent performances are just as important when it comes to a work’s future success. We are equally focused on bringing works to our audiences that deserve another performance, and it’s exciting to be able to give Solemn Prelude a new lease of life, 122 years later! I’m grateful to Sam Wigglesworth for his immediate enthusiasm for the project and lending Faber Music’s support to its publication. I’m sure it is a work audiences will enjoy, and we are thrilled that future performances are already planned elsewhere.’
Sam Wigglesworth, Performance Music Director at Faber Music, said: ‘When Alexis Paterson told me she was visiting the British Library to view a Coleridge-Taylor manuscript, my curiosity was immediately piqued. Soon after that, seeing the score and learning more about the piece, it was clear to me that Faber Music should create a new edition. I’m very grateful to Alexis, who generously allowed us to play a part in the project, and to Cristina Rocca for all her support and enthusiasm.’