James Lowe, conductor
Mateusz Wolski, violin
Elgar’s Enigma Variations is a moving portrait of his closest friends, with each variation ingeniously using different versions of the same tune to capture their individual personalities (even including a bulldog’s misadventures in a river). One of Elgar’s friends not depicted is Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a black English composer whom Elgar championed and thought a genius. Tchaikovsky initially wanted to dedicate his Violin Concerto to his lover, the violinist Yosif Kotek, but ultimately didn’t for fear of a scandal that would expose his private life. We open with William Grant Still’s Wood Notes, inspired by the poetry of J. Mitchell Pilcher and an evocation of the natural beauty of the American South.