To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’ve got twice the love to share on our weekly video feature, both souvenirs from our December tour. First is literally a Salute to Love – or, in its original title, Liebesgruss – an three-minute charmer written in 1888 by Edward Elgar as an engagement gift to his bride-to-be, the fascinating literary figure Alice Caroline Roberts. The original title was a tribute to the aristocratic Alice’s fluency in German.
Ironically, Elgar sold off what would become one of his most enduring pieces to his German publishing house Schott Music, which quicly figured out that the way to sell this English miniature with a German title was to give it a French name! And so the megahit Salut d’Amour was born. Schott made a fortune, and in those pre-royalty days Elgar was paid the princely sum of two guineas (less than $5) for the composition.
Elgar’s gift of love to the world was played ‘midst the priceless art of the Kreeger Museum in Washington DC by our Heifetz on Tour artists Julia Angelov, violin, and Zhenni Li-Cohen, piano.
Love conquers all: “Elgar’s parents…could not see how a woman of nearly 40 could hold the attention of their 29-year old son. In addition, Mrs. Elgar strongly objected because Alice was a Protestant. Alice’s parents had both passed away, but her extended family considered Edward a poor tradesman of a significantly lower social class. They also disapproved because he was eight years her junior and a devout Roman Catholic. Opposites attract, as they say.” – Interlude
But wait, there’s more! Following Elgar’s late-19th-century ode to love came a late-20th-century work suffused with Valentine’s romance: “From My Heart,” written in 1993 by the renowned viola teacher, performer – and composer! – Paul Coletti. We can’t say it any better than the work’s publisher: “An unabashed romantic with tunefulness and old-fashioned flash.” Matt Cohen and his wife, pianist Zhenni Li-Cohen, are the two hearts beating as one in thisperformance back at the Kreeger Museum.