In November 1903, Edward Elgar was in need of quick inspiration for a new work to première at a festival in his honour to be held in March the following year. He and his wife decided to visit Italy.
It was during a visit to Andora on the Italian Riviera, where he came across an ancient Roman bridge, had a meeting with a shepherd dressed in sheepskins and stood in the ruins of an old chapel, that inspiration finally struck. As Elgar said, "In a flash it all came to me – the conflict of the armies on that very spot long ago, where now I stood – the contrast of the ruin and the shepherd – and then, all of a sudden, I came back to reality. In that time I had composed the overture – the rest was merely writing it down."
Recorded 6 October 2017, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ Concert.
Producer: David McCaw
Engineer: Darryl Stack