Elgar's Salut d'Amour

March 18, 2021, 5:23 AM · The original was in E major, but a lot of people, including Itzhak Perlman, play it in the possibly more tractable (depending on fingering) key of D major. Both versions are in IMSLP. But violin was Elgar's first instrument, barring piano, so is there not an argument for playing Salut in E major, as Elgar wished?

Replies (6)

March 18, 2021, 6:04 AM · I think most people play the original in E major. The D major version did appear during Elgar's lifetime and is probably intended for the then large sheet music market for amateurs. I suspect if Elgar wasn't directly responsible for the D major version (which I assume he was), he would have at least sanctioned it.
Edited: March 18, 2021, 6:15 AM · But all this raises the question, Why does Perlman play it in D?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E61hcSbUVsM
March 18, 2021, 9:53 AM · Perlman might have learned it originally in D major at the age of 2 or something. Or maybe he's trying to out-HIP the HIP-sters and tune his A down to 390 or whatever it would be.
Edited: March 18, 2021, 6:58 PM · Will you get a more resonant sound in D?

Edit: my kids recently recorded Simple Gifts from Copland's Old American Songs for a fundraiser which is originally in A flat, but we noticed how much better it sounded when Zuill Bailey plays it in B flat - more open strings and more resonance in that key.

March 18, 2021, 7:26 PM · I think if the Mendelssohn E Flat Octet Op. 20 were transposed to D it might be a lot easier to play but it would sound much different and probably worse. I think Mendelssohn specifically chose E flat because the tonic is not a resonant note (but the third is!) and this gives the whole work a much more velvety texture.
March 19, 2021, 6:08 PM · Janes Ehnnes also plays it in D - why, I don't know. All things being equal, it has more elegance and sheen in the original E. Of course, Perlman and Ehnnes could make convincing cases playing it in Q flat. But still...

I included it in my 2nd CD - in E. I used the Peters Urtext edition. Interestingly, that edition includes two slightly different versions - both apparently by Elgar - with minor differences between them. In my version I chose certain details from one and some from the other. My CD includes the complete Bach d minor Partita. I named the CD "Chaconne d'Amour", combining the longest and shortest tracks!

There is an exquisite recording of this by David Nadien - in E.

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