“As Torrents in Summer” is the unaccompanied and soulful final chorus of Edward Elgar’s saga telling the story of King Olaf, first performed in 1896.
The entire cantata is based on an epic poem by HW Longfellow, telling the story of the life, battles and death of Norse crusader King Olaf. It was written at a time when Elgar was becoming popular as a composer of music for choral festivals in the Midlands.
Elgar grew up as one of seven children surrounded by music and literature: his father was a piano tuner and he became a professional standard violinist (and enthusiastic member of the Worcester Glee Club). He spurned folk music and early English composers such as William Byrd, but claimed to have learned much of his technique from Hubert Parry.
Elgar composed and arranged music from childhood, his reputation growing during the 1890s until in 1899 his Enigma Variations established him as the pre-eminent composer of his generation.
For an extraxt from the text of Longfellow’s poem, see here.
To hear “As Torrents in Summer” come to our Spring Concert!