About this work
British composer Sir Edward Elgar was a relatively late bloomer, being well into his thirties before penning any large-scale works of real vitality or importance. Nevertheless, throughout the early part of his career, even as he immersed himself in the masterworks to build his own skills, Elgar produced many delightful miniatures that have proved, over the course of the last century or so, to have enough innate charm -- enough of that warm bon-bon character that would soon earn Fritz Kreisler world fame -- to outlast almost all of the contemporary models on which Elgar based them. The famous Salut d'Amour is one such miniature; the somewhat lesser-known La capricieuse for violin and piano, Op.17, is another worthy one. Like Kreisler, Elgar was a trained violinist (unlike Kreisler, Elgar lacked the kind of prowess that would have enabled him to pursue a career of a virtuoso -- a career that, in his youth, he very much wanted), and La capricieuse, composed at the very end of 1891, is just one of many short pieces penned for the violin/piano combination. Elgar knew his instrument very well: the entire piece falls quite readily under the player's fingers. At one point the piece had been provisionally titled "Le Staccato", and something of the pointed character that that title seems to imply does indeed inform the two outer sections of the finished product. An effective use of more lyrical double-stops provides an attractive contrast in the middle section.