Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Turn of the 20th Century > Suite, "The Wand of Youth". Op. 1a. - Elgar
Suite, "The Wand of Youth". Op. 1a.
The suite, "Wand of Youth," has an interesting history. In his twelfth year Elgar wrote a fairy play, "The Wand of Youth," and supplied the incidental music, the whole to be performed by members of the Elgar family. Forty years later, in 1907, he recast this music for concert purposes in two suites. The first is in seven short movements. The first, "Overture," opens with the theme in the strings, followed by full orchestra. The second theme, a graceful melody, follows, succeeded by recapitulation and a Coda based on the opening theme. The second movement, "Serenade," is introduced in the strings, the first theme announced by clarinet with accompaniment in strings and harps. This is followed by a new subject in first violins, which after its statement repeats the first theme. The third movement, "Minuet," is written in the old stately style for strings, woodwinds, and horns, the violins announcing the theme. The fourth movement is a fairy rhythm called the "Sun Dance," the theme of which is announced in the woodwinds. The second theme is given out by strings and clarinet and is followed by a waltz rhythm for the oboe an subsequently for first violins. After repetition of this material, a Coda closes the movement. The "Fairy Pipers" is the fifth movement, which is based upon two themes -- the song of the pipers, given out by the clarinets, and a second melody by the strings. The sixth movement, "Slumber Scene" is entirely for two bassoons, one horn, and muted strings, the theme announced pianissimo in the violins. The last movement, "Fairies and Giants," a Presto, opens in the cellos and double basses, followed by the woodwinds, which take up a light figure, repeated by the strings. After the development of this material the giants have their turn in an unmistakably portentous section of the movement as compared with the light, sprightly opening. It is followed by a repetition of the fairy music, with suggestions of the giants, and a Coda closes the suite.