Sea Pictures

Edward Elgar

Sea Pictures

Op. 37

About this work

Though an indisputably masterful composer for the voice, Elgar was not always as skilful in picking texts as he was setting them to music. The composer's Sea Pictures (1897 - 99) for contralto and large orchestra are based on some rather pedestrian verses which, nonetheless, Elgar manages to touch with magic. The songs range from the calm but brooding "Sea Slumber-Song" (Noel) to the fiercely exultant "A Sabbath Morning at Sea" (Browning), with the jewel-like "Where Corals Lie" (Garnett) nestled among all the grandeur. The music has a compelling sweep and sincerity that compares favorably with the sentimental miniatures perhaps more usually associated with the vocal music of Victorian England.