Passionate, lyrical and profoundly sad, Sir Edward Elgar’s much-loved Cello Concerto is the featured work in St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s concert in St Saviour’s Church on Saturday, March 7, at 7.30pm.

The great English composer’s wife, Alice, died of lung cancer little more than six months after the first performance in 1919 and the concerto proved to be the last major composition before his own death 14 years later. But audiences altogether unaware of that context can scarcely fail to be affected by its wistful beauty.

Matthew Sharp, the cello soloist, will be welcomed back by the orchestra after a 2018 performance that was critically acclaimed as “inspirational” and “a triumph”.

Tom Hammond, SASO’s Principal Conductor, said: “Working with Matthew is always a thrilling experience, knowing that he will bring a fresh perspective and new insights to any work he chooses to tackle. We are especially excited that he has agreed to play the Elgar – which probably the best-known and loved cello concerto, and one the most famous pieces of music by any British composer.”

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