The Severn Suite
Orchestral Version : Study Score
Elgar's The Severn Suite was written in 1930 for brass band. In 1931 Elgar made an arrangement for full orchestra. This was never published during his lifetime, although Elgar conducted a recording on 78 rpm records. The composer's manuscript was lost, but a copyist's score survived. In 1991 the Severn Suite orchestral version first appeared in print when Acuta Music published a limited-edition study score using the copyist's score as source material. This edition was used for the Chandos CD performance conducted by Richard Hickox, and for a BBC recording which has been widely broadcast. There have been numerous other performances by both professional and amateur orchestras.
In 2010 the original composer’s manuscript reappeared and is now in the British Library. The Acuta score has been revised and improved based on this rediscovered, authentic source material.
A comprehensive article in the December 2013 Elgar Society Journal giving full details of the rediscovery of the various Severn Suite manuscripts, and also correcting certain long-standing misapprehensions about the work, can be viewed via this link --
ISBN : Study score 978 1 873690 17 8. Duration : 19 minutes. Five movements played without a break.
Orchestral requirements : 2+1 2+1 2+1 2+1 4 3 3 1 Timp 2-3P Strings. The Bass Clarinet and Contrabassoon could be dispensed with if circumstances dictate.
Difficulty : The Severn Suite is challenging to play, but is not as tricky as other works of Elgar such as the Symphonies or Cockaigne. It is well within the capabilities of amateur or youth orchestras.
Study Score : Available from Acuta Music in a limited edition of 300 copies. Includes detailed Editorial commentary. See "Sales" bookmark for price and payment details.
Orchestral parts, Full score : Available for sale from Goodmusic. A3 and A4 conductor's scores available. For information about the Acuta/Goodmusic edition click here.
Copyright : Although Elgar's music is out of copyright, the Acuta Music and the Acuta/Goodmusic editions of The Severn Suite constitute a "copyright edition" for the purposes of performance and recording, and should be disclosed as such on PRS or MCPS returns.
Brass Band version : Elgar’s original, authentic brass band version is still available as a reprint of the original 1930 publication (see this link to publisher's website). Other brass band arrangements have subsequently been made but these are not faithful to Elgar’s original intentions.