Friday 22 May

Sospiri simply means ‘sigh’. This is a time for sighs. Sighs of relief, sighs of frustration, sighs of anger, sighs of grief, sighs of regret, sighs of love … 

Edward Elgar originally intended to write a short lighter and popular piece of music.  Instead in the weeks leading up to the First World War he found himself writing a far more serious, yet still tuneful, piece. So he called it Sospiri … a sigh. 

What perhaps makes this melody so ‘sighing’ is the characteristic falling seventh (not quite a scale). This sense of a yearning and sighing fall is really what this piece is about. Even the violin is played in a ‘breathy’ sort of way.