Track 6 Elgar Quintet for piano and strings in a minor Op.84 Movt 2: Adagio
Ethel Hobday (piano), Spencer Dyke String Quartet
Studio recording: London, c. February/March 1926
from CRQ 507 National Gramophonic Society World Premiere Recordings: Elgar Piano Quintet, Mozart Oboe Quartet, Bach, Tomlinson.,
released March 21, 2022
Ethel Hobday (1871-1947)
The National Gramophonic Society was an offshoot of The Gramophone, the magazine launched in 1923 by the British novelist Compton Mackenzie (see CRQ 447, 451, 458 & 471). Among several innovations, the Society was funded by subscription; members voted on which works it would record; and it pledged to issue only premiere, complete recordings. The NGS also aimed for musical authenticity by involving composers in its recordings of their works. Mackenzie belonged to the same London men’s club as Sir Edward Elgar, and invited the composer to play the piano part in his Piano Quintet. Elgar declined but in his place nominated two female pianists. The obvious choice was Ethel Hobday, who had already made many chamber music recordings for Vocalion. Announcing its set of Elgar’s Quintet, the NGS proudly proclaimed, ‘This issue may therefore be taken as an authoritative rendering’. Some months before, the Society’s resident quartet had recorded the short but impassioned Lament by its viola player, Ernest Tomlinson (1877-1957), well known in his day as a teacher. As far as is known, this is his only composition to appear on disc.