Elegy

for String Orchestra

Samuel Adler

Rental
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

In late November 1962, a close friend of mine, Marjorie Fulton Harrell (wife of singer Mack Harrell and mother of cellist Lynn Harrell) was killed in a tragic automobile accident. Marjorie was a fine concert violinist and a professor of violin at North Texas State University, where I was teaching composition. She had premiered my Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra at the Aspen Music Festival and several other compositions of mine. Her tragic death shocked the musical community of Texas, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra wanted to pay tribute to her memory at its next concert. Donald Johanos, then the Dallas Symphony?s music director, called me on Tuesday evening to ask if I would write a short work for the Thursday subscription concert. I agreed. During that time I was revising my Third String Quartet and felt that the second movement of it had elements which could be utilized in a piece for string orchestra. Using the first phrase of that third movement, I wrote the Elegy during Tuesday night and it was premiered Thursday evening by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

The work is based on a six-measure melodic fragment played by the first violins at the very opening. This is developed as an imitative idea by the rest of the strings, reaching a climax two-thirds of the way through the short work. Brief bits of the tune are then nostalgically recalled, giving them some development and bringing the piece to a quiet close. The work has been played by many of the major orchestras in this country, including the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Houston Symphony Orchestra, among many others.

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Scores & Parts

Elegy - Full Score - Miniature

Additional Information

Composition Date 1962
Duration 00:07:30
Orchestration Str.
Premiere First performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Donald Johanos, conducting, November 1962

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