commissioned by the International Guitar Foundation (IGF)
for the first London International Guitar Competition
When I was asked to write a piece for the inaugural London International Guitar Competition in 2012, I immediately thought of writing about London itself. Not a modern cityscape, more something that might evoke the London of the past – nostalgic, but tinged with melancholy.
Around the corner from King’s Place, where the final stages of the competition were scheduled to take place, is St Pancras Station and the recently renovated St Pancras Renaissance Hotel – a building Thomas Beecham once compared to Elgar’s First Symphony. I had just completed a new guitar concerto for Graham Roberts and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the middle movement of which was a homage to Elgar, so musical material from the concerto became the starting point for Marylebone Elegy. None of Elgar’s music is quoted, but I allude to his musical language.
In March 2011 the guitarist Richard Hand died suddenly, he was a cornerstone of the London guitar scene and I had been looking for an suitable opportunity to write a piece in his memory. He lived in Marylebone all of his adult life.
Marylebone Elegy was commissioned by the International Guitar Foundation (IGF) for the inaugural London International Guitar Competition. The first performances were given by the six semi-finalists and, subsequently, the three finalists at King’s Place, London, on 9th and 10th March 2012. The piece has been recorded by John Williams on his album Stepping Stones (JCW2 © 2013).
Stephen Goss, February 2012