Author Topic: Elgar Sea Pictures  (Read 126 times)

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Offline DaveF

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Elgar Sea Pictures
« on: May 04, 2018, 01:05:06 AM »
Dear all,

I'm wondering whether any percussionist members have ever played in Elgar's Sea Pictures, and whether they remember what instrument was used for the "gong" specified in the score.  Did Elgar have in mind a tam-tam or a smaller table-top dinner gong?  A very quick look on YouTube doesn't turn up any performances that show the percussion section's minimal input (although I need to look in greater detail).  Also, I can't find a single other work by Elgar that uses gong/tam-tam to find out what his customary terminology might be.  Thanks in advance.
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Elgar Sea Pictures
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2018, 01:58:24 AM »
DaveF - In my inner ear I can hear a tam-tam in one of the big climactic passages of another Elgar work but for the life of me cannot now find it.  That being said I am 100% certain the Sea-Pictures calls for a big deep-toned tamtam.  The two times it is used in the score it has to be a low underpinning of the scoring - especially in the final "The Swimmer" where it comes in with the organ pedals.  Not a shadow of doubt in my mind - something brighter toned would verge on pastiche!

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Elgar Sea Pictures
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2018, 03:01:28 AM »
As someone who hasn't studied music and knows nothing about scores or gong instruments all I can say is that the score part for gong says "Gong with a sponge stick" if that helps in any way...  ::)
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Offline DaveF

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Re: Elgar Sea Pictures
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2018, 03:54:12 AM »
Thanks, both.  The sponge stick is the lesser of my problems; the tam-tam, which has to be borrowed (subject to availability) and transported 20 miles with its enormous frame on my roofrack, the chief one.

I had imagined a tam-tam smash at the fiendish climax of the scherzo of no.2, but there isn't.  The alleged "3rd symphony" includes one, but that hardly counts.  There's probably one in Gerontius (Demon's Chorus?)
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Offline DaveF

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Re: Elgar Sea Pictures
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2018, 04:11:28 AM »
This page: https://www.bellperc.com/blogs/repertoire/edward-elgar gives details of percussion requirements for a number of Elgar scores (not including Sea Pictures!).

And I've just found that Boosey's online score, a modern edition rather than the old one on IMSLP, specifies tam-tam.
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Offline relm1

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Re: Elgar Sea Pictures
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2018, 05:56:27 AM »
You should consider it a tam-tam.  The word gong in the score is sort of generic for an umbrella type of instruments that include various gongs (there are different types) and tam-tam.  What we hear in most recordings is the tam-tam.

Offline knight66

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Re: Elgar Sea Pictures
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2018, 07:00:35 AM »
Thanks, both.  The sponge stick is the lesser of my problems; the tam-tam, which has to be borrowed (subject to availability) and transported 20 miles with its enormous frame on my roofrack, the chief one.

I had imagined a tam-tam smash at the fiendish climax of the scherzo of no.2, but there isn't.  The alleged "3rd symphony" includes one, but that hardly counts.  There's probably one in Gerontius (Demon's Chorus?)

Not in the Demon’s Chorus I think, but perhaps at the moment of judgement towards the end there is a earth shattering climax, is there a tam tam there?

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