Elgar started ‘Great is the Lord’ in 1910 it’s an adaptation of Psalm 47 and is fairly popular now but at the time he was composing it, perhaps because there was no patron to commission it in sight, it was doubtful that Elgar would even complete it. It took him two years working in fits and starts but on July 16th 1912 it received its first performance with organ accompaniment at Westminster Abbey with Sir Frederick Bridge conducting – the success of this outing led it being orchestrated in September 1913. Structurally it’s not particularly complex, Elgar divided it up into sections each of which introduces new material, it opens with the the altos, tenors and basses in unison but changes thereafter to being in two parts with some passages in block harmony. There’s a wonderful bass solo at ‘We have thought on Thy loving-kindness, O God’ the anthem ends with rich choral writing that reminds me more than somewhat of his oratorios. Enjoy :-).
Edward Elgar (1857-1934): Great is the Lord Op 67
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness;
Text: After Psalm 47 (48)
Performers: St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, Andrew Lucas (organ) conducted by John Scott.