While euphoria reigned and the celebrations carried on long into the night,
Muriel slipped away to resume her tour. She visited Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne
where she sang with Mengelberg's Orchestra.
Now Elgar's great oratorio was being heard with increasing regularity
all over England. Marie Brema was engaged to sing the Angel at the Three
in Worcester on 11 September 1902, but she became ill at the last moment,
leaving the way open for Muriel, Elgar's original choice. The Manchester
Guardian approved, "Foster
gave a rendering of the part of the Angel so rich in the noblest artistic qualities
that she need not fear comparison with any rival." Elgar was on
the rostrum for his Sursum Corda
at the Opening Services and at the secular concert
for the Cockaigne
Overture when Muriel sang the second, fourth and fifth
of Sea Pictures
, supplanting Brema's two by Saint-Saëns.
Muriel achieved another first at the Sheffield Festival on 1 October
in Sir Henry Coward's cantata, "Gareth and Linet
led as Muriel sang with Ella Russell, Ben Davies and David Bispham. Choral
strength; composing was not. The next day brought the principal attraction
as Elgar conducted his Gerontius
. Brema was still ill so Muriel sang once
again. It was a triumph and right in the midst of the hubbub stood a radiant
Muriel. That day, she also sang the solo in a further Elgar Premiere, The
. It had been composed for the 1902 Coronation celebrations
but due to the King's illness, it had remained unperformed, until this moment.
Muriel was twenty-four, a luscious artist perfectly endowed to sing Elgar's
music, while her principal rival, Marie Brema, was twenty years older and a
Wagnerian. Many found her a perfectly acceptable Angel but for Elgar, Muriel
was perfect. He saw her as key to the future success of Gerontius
in 1903 she would show how right he was.
She lost no time reprising her Angel role in Edinburgh in January with Cowen
conducting, she and John Coates earning rave notices. Both joined Elgar for
a performance in Hanley on 13 March. Then for a change, a week later in Hull,
sang Grieg's Olaf Trygvason
with Ivor Foster, local soprano Ethel
G. Kaye and the Hull Harmonic Society. "A certain wild Olaf from the North becomes
a Christian in England and returns to Norway to convert his countrymen. His methods
are those of a human tornado. He is countered by The Prophetess who in wrath
breaks forth into a torrent of imprecations against the headstrong Olaf. Here,
however, Grieg shows a fine disregard for his contralto soloist. Miss Muriel
Foster sang the fiery music of the infuriated woman magnificently, but the wear
and tear on her voice must have been quite Wagnerian." During the second
part, her "delivery of Gluck's `Che Faro' will live long in one's remembrance.
Not often has the pathetic lament of Orpheus been rendered with more of `soul'
than Miss Foster brought to bear. She is herself again and singing superbly.
Exceedingly graceful was her singing of Saint-Saëns' lovely song `Printemps
qui commence.'" It would be her last visit to Hull.
She returned to Gerontius
in Birmingham on 26 March, but along
the way she wrote to Elgar, "I have heard that there is a possibility
done in London. I am writing to ask you to put in a good word for me.
I love the part so much and would very much like to sing it in London."
In April, she sailed off to Russia for two weeks of wowing Russian music devotees
all the way to St. Petersburg. Though insulated as machinations continued prior
to the first Gerontius
in London on 6 June 1903, she surely sensed she
was Elgar's choice and to support her cause, she sent a telegram on her last
day in Russia. Upon returning to England, she went to Malvern on 9 May to spend
two hours going through her assignment as Mary Magdalene in The Apostles
Elgar's new oratorio to premiere that autumn. No doubt they shared thoughts
about the upcoming Gerontius.
That special Gerontius
was held in unfinished Westminster Cathedral
where Hugo Gorlitz was in charge. As Marie Brema's agent, naturally he pressed
on her behalf. Ultimately, Elgar prevailed and Muriel did not fail. Dr. Ludwig
Wullner as Gerontius was widely praised for his intelligence and diction, pleasing
Elgar and others, but when it came to beautiful tone, well, that was quite
That autumn on 9 September, Muriel assumed her place at the Three Choirs Festival
at Hereford to sing a cantata, The Atonement
, which the Festival had
commissioned from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. She sang with Emma Albani, Emily
Green and Andrew Black with Dr. G. R. Sinclair at the helm. The next day she
By the time the Birmingham Festival opened on 14 October, Elgar was ready and
so was The Apostles
. In earlier works, he had presented his females
as passive and motherly. Now, with Muriel Foster's talents uppermost, he fashioned
a powerful figure in Mary Magdalene. She joined Emma Albani, John Coates, Ffrangcon-Davies,
Kennerley Rumford and Andrew Black to fashion an immense success. Two nights
later, she was back to sing Anton Bruckner's Te Deum
with Agnes Nicholls,
William Green and Andrew Black. Post festival on the 20th, she visited Windsor
Castle with Ben Davies and pianist Leonard Borwick to meet the new King Edward
and Queen Alexandra and entertain their royal guests from Italy.
In the midst of the Birmingham excitement, Elgar and Richter were shocked to
hear of the sudden death of friend Alfred Rodewald. In his honour, they gave
a concert in Liverpool on 5 December when after the strains of Wagner and Beethoven,
Muriel sang Brahms' Alto Rhapsody
and the Angel's Farewell
To America a second time
Early in 1904, she again departed for America. She arrived for an engagement
on 18 March in Brooklyn with the Boston Symphony under Walter Gericke
to offer "In
haven" from Sea Pictures
. Three days later she reprised in Hartford.
Then she went to New York for the second performance of The Apostles
the US. In Carnegie Hall on 24 March, she sang with Mrs. Theodore J.
Toedt (Mary), Edward P. Johnson (St. John), Gwilym Miles (St. Peter),
David Bispham (Judas) and the New York Oratorio Society under Frank Damrosch.
As Bispham noted, "The English alto Muriel Foster was in an agony of dread
and pain, because of the approach of what might have resulted in lockjaw had
it not been taken in time. That evening she placed between her teeth, at the
back of her mouth, which she could open but with great difficulty, a wad of paper
to keep her jaws from coming together. In this plight she bravely went through
the performance, though the audience must have wondered at the strange enunciation
which sometimes marred her otherwise distinct delivery of the text." (6)
In Toronto, she gave a recital in Massey Hall on 18 April with baritone
Cyril Dwight Edwards, pianist Emiliano Renaud, violinist Alfred de Seve
Kate Eadie. To the Globe: "Miss Muriel Foster.. as is well known,
has a beautiful voice, mellow, sympathetic and rich in colour. She has,
while singing with artistic finish, which is something to be thankful
for in these days when temperament is made to excuse so many crudities
her selections were Goring Thomas' aria `My heart is weary
sombre but emotional `Im Herbst
', Grieg's `Im Kahne
songs by Olga Rudd, G. W. Cox and Del Riego. Miss Foster once more won
every number being greeted with enthusiastic applause."
Chicago came next. At the Auditorium on 30 April she sang Elgar's Sea Pictures
Op. 33, No. 3 by Richard Strauss with veteran conductor Theodore Thomas leading
the orchestra. Next, she travelled to the banks of the Ohio on 13 and 14 May
for Cincinnati's world famous Summer Festival. The incidental music and funeral
march from Elgar's Grania and Diarmid
set a serious mood for The Dream
with Muriel, Green and Watkin Mills. The next day, Ernestine
Schumann-Heink sang "Divinités du Styx
Brahms' Alto Rhapsody
, Muriel following with "In Haven," "Where
" and "The Swimmer
" from Sea Pictures
Strauss' noble Hymnus
. Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture
party crashing to a gaudy close.
Muriel's absence meant she missed the great Elgar Festival at Covent Garden
with the King and Queen present. Louise Kirkby Lunn imparted her special magic
on consecutive nights of 14 and 15 March 1904.
After so much satisfying music-making, Muriel must have enjoyed the trip
home on the high seas. Refreshed, she was again in harness on 11 June
at a huge
Jubilee Concert at the Crystal Palace surrounded by familiar faces..
Davies and Santley with Manns conducting. To show how much she was prized,
the London Philharmonic Society chose this moment to award her their
More pleasantry awaited at The Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester. She sang
on 6 September with Coates, Ffrangcon-Davies, Mildred
Jones and Frederic Austin and on the following night, Parry's short oratorio, "The
Love That Casteth Out Fear
" with Plunket Greene. The Gloucester
organizer, Herbert Brewer, saw it as quite a coup to give The Apostles
after its premiere. He was correct -- the audience loved it. Brewer rewarded
by leading his own oratorio The Holy Innocents
on 8 September with Muriel,
Albani, Coates, Ffrangcon-Davies and Baker.
At this time, Elgar was encouraging a young composer, H. Walford Davies, so
when his new cantata Everyman
was introduced at Leeds on 6 October 1904,
it is no surprise Muriel Foster was a soloist. In this version of the old morality
play, she joined Cicely Gleeson-White, John Coates and Henry Lane Wilson with
Stanford conducting. When Everyman
moved to Queen's Hall, London
on 5 December, thanks to adroit manoeuvring by Arthur Fagge and his Royal
Muriel and Cicely sang with Gregory Hast and Kennerley Rumford. "Commendable" was
She began 1905 with her third and final visit to America. Everyone wanted to
hear her sing Sea Pictures
and she obliged at venues in eastern US cities
under conductor Walter Gericke. That autumn at Worcester, she was a pillar
first on 12 September in Gerontius
and two days later in The Apostles
Coates, Albani, Baker and Plunket Greene.
As is apparent, she had been busy at concerts in London, other larger English
cities and abroad. In her travels, she had met a rising musical personage,
Ludovico Goetz, and in 1906 they married. In due course, Anthony was born.
In her new
status, Muriel sang less, but of course, the Three Choirs Festival could not
be missed. That year at Hereford she repeated both Gerontius
Coates, Nicholls, Ffrangcon-Davies et al and, in between, Bach's Mass in B
with Albani, Coates and Higley.
Another important Elgar event loomed. At Birmingham's 42nd Triennial Festival
on 2 October, she sang in Elijah
and The Apostles
, the latter
conducted by Elgar. The next morning she joined Agnes Nicholls, John Coates,
and the chorus as Elgar stepped up to conduct The Kingdom
, his final
oratorio. In continuing his tale of the Apostles and the establishment of the
Jerusalem with Mary Magdalene a consoling presence throughout, Elgar was moved
to new heights of inspiration by the famous soliloquy in anticipation of Muriel's
interpretation. To conclude, she sang the first English performance of a solo
cantata by Christian Ritter, a German composer of the 18th century.
Absent in 1907, presumably to attend her new-born son, Muriel re-appeared in
Birmingham the following September to sing in Verdi's Requiem
and Mendelssohn's Elijah
a fast rising John McCormack, Aino Ackté and Clarence Whitehill, Wood
conducting. A second event involved Wood, as Pauline Donalda reported (The Record
Collector, November. Vol. 10), "I also sang in the St. Matthew Passion
a performance memorable for me for Muriel Foster, the great English contralto,
who came out of retirement to sing in this Bach production."
After that, it was more champagne and roses until she fell ill, seriously enough
to cause a vocal crisis and a total withdrawal from singing. In time, she recovered,
acquiring new powers of interpretation. But she chose venues with care, memorials
and special occasions, events involving Elgar's music and when she simply needed
time with her fans.
August Jaeger, Elgar's close friend, and a fervent Foster admirer from the
outset, had written to Elgar on 23 October 1903, four months after the London
, to ask, "How is Muriel the gorgeous?" He had recognized
Muriel's significance to the Elgar saga. But now Jaeger was desperately ill,
and finally he lost his battle with tuberculosis. Elgar decided to mark his passing
with a concert of music by the English composers he served so well. On 24 January
1910, Elgar, Parry, Walford Davies and Coleridge-Taylor, each led their own works.
The gorgeous one said her own "bon voyage" with Brahms "Alto
" aided by the Men of the Alexandra Palace Choral Society.
Helping Albani bid adieu
When Emma Albani presented her Farewell Concert at the Birmingham Town
Hall on 22 February 1911, she invited Muriel, Gregory Hast and Peter
share the moment. Robert J. Buckley effused over the star and about Muriel. "Miss
Muriel Foster, who had a tremendous reception, sang Schubert's `Erl-King
with superb voice and perfect art; once more one recognised the irreparable
loss to English music consequent on her retirement, when at the height
of her powers,
from the concert-platform."
Others agreed. "Miss Muriel Foster, whose voice has preserved nearly
all its old glory, sang Schubert's `Erl-King
', Schumann's "Du bist,
wie eine Blume
", and some minor things, the titles and composers
of which are unknown to me. Lieder singing never showed Miss Foster at
best; her voice, beautiful as it is, has too little variety of colour
for that. In the Schubert ballad, the `Erl-King
' was only imperfectly
suggested by a pianissimo; and the turning on of something like the full
power of her
voice for the child's lines had the curious effect of making him seem
much bigger and
older than the Erl-King himself. But both here and in the Schumann the
beauty of Miss Foster's voice was a rich compensation for anything that
been wanting on the descriptive or psychological side."
And "Her voice has greatly increased in the upper register. She
sang Schubert's `Erl-King
', accompanied by Miss Adele Verne, wrongly referred to as
a duet. She made much of it, giving different expression and tone to the various
voices. For an encore she sang Schumann's `Du bist ure eine Blume
[sic] the other songs given by her being Henschel's `No more
' and Harty's
'". Obviously she had been missed.
She was part of another farewell of sorts in London on 30 March as Hans Richter,
in failing health, gave a concert with the London Symphony Orchestra to celebrate
the fiftieth anniversary of the British Musicians' Pension Fund. He conducted
a vigorous Enigma Variations
, his last; then Muriel once more rendered
her familiar Angel's Farewell.
By this time, Muriel and Elgar were best of friends, both professionally and
socially, often getting together in their respective homes. Bury reports that
it was at the Goetzes that Elgar met Paderewski in June 1911, while that same
year, when the Elgars moved to Severn House, Hampstead, the Goetzes presented
them with a settee. That autumn as Elgar introduced his Coronation March
Worcester, Muriel was present to sing two of his Sea Pictures
Manchester's musical faithful anticipated the upcoming Hallé Orchestra
Pension Fund Concert on 21 March 1912 as another chance to see the legendary
Richter in action. The day arrived but Richter did not; Michael Balling conducted
in his place. "However Miss Muriel Foster's presence atoned for much" pleasing
a packed house as Balling "proved he is a safe interpreter of the classics." As
autumn leaves began to float down at Hereford, Muriel sang for the first
time with orchestra two Elgar songs, "The Torch
" and "The
". They brought down the curtain on her Three Choirs experience.
Earlier Elgar had begun work on The Music Makers
, taking inspiration
from Arthur O'Shaughnessy's poem. He poured in everything of his nature to
a choral singer's dream, with a contralto solo for his semi-retired friend.
At the Birmingham Festival, on the afternoon of 1 October 1912, Wood led Mendelssohn's Elijah
Carrie Tubb, Clara Butt, John McCormack and Clarence Whitehill. After dinner,
Elgar and Muriel premiered The Music Makers
, Op. 69. A splendid day
of music came to an end when Sibelius conducted the first performance in England
of his Fourth Symphony.
The next evening Wood was back on the podium as Muriel, Aino Ackté,
John McCormack and Clarence Whitehill gave a Verdi Requiem
in time would acquire a delicious notoriety. It was reported Elgar stormed
afterwards shouting, "That was the worst performance of the work I have
ever heard!" When Madame Ackté asked to be introduced to him, the
composer refused to see her, reducing the poor lady to tears. The next day he
sent her a note of apology, upon the back of which she scrawled, "Dummy!" Yet,
Wood in his auto-biography, described the performance as "the happiest
and certainly the truest Italian rendering of Verdi's Requiem
ever directed ... I doubt whether I shall ever hear another quartet of
who will let
themselves go and dominate a whole performance as these four did." (7)
That summer Muriel sang in a series of concerts at Queen's Hall with baritone
Herbert Heyner and the London Symphony Orchestra, led in turn by Nikisch, Mengelberg
and Harty. Then she uplifted Proms Concerts with the Queen's Hall Orchestra
from 16 August until 25 October. During the first week of October at the Leeds
Festival, she drew upon her talents to illuminate Hamilton Harty's The Mystic
, a new work based on a poem by Walt Whitman.
A regular at Royal Philharmonic Orchestral Concerts since 1904, Muriel
stood on 20 January 1914 to render "Aus der Tiefe des Grames
" from Achilleus
Max Bruch. She returned with the Bruch during the season finale on 31 March
under Mengelberg's direction. Afterwards she was awarded the Society's highly
Gold Medal. It would not go to a singer for thirty-nine years, the next recipient
being another contralto, the wondrous Kathleen Ferrier.
That year on 13 May, as part of the Bach Festival in Oxford, a certain "Miss
Hilda Foster" appeared at New College Chapel to sing Bach's "Susser
," for soprano, "admirably interpreted.. to the accompaniment
of solo flute, oboi d'amore, and strings." That evening she "sang
charmingly a group of four songs selected from the `Geistliche Lieder
twin reborn? Not likely. (8)
As the country slipped into the cruellest of wars, many festivals closed.
Like her colleagues, Muriel sang for war charities, including concerts
organized by composer Isidore De Lara to help persons in the arts adversely
conflict. In London during the summer of 1914, she joined Louise Edvina
and Marguerite D'Alvarez at the Haymarket Theatre to start the series
on "Art versus Charity" as De Lara persuaded his titled friends
to lighten their wallets. By his count, he produced 1300 concerts with
in her share. (9)
In 1916, Muriel asked Elgar to make a special arrangement of a song by Handel
so she could sing it at an upcoming concert. On 23 March, Elgar tackled his
task. She arrived at Severn three days later to receive it, expressing delight
his masterly effort. As she left, she met Charles Mott, his wife and child
and others, just arriving. She encountered the ill-fated baritone again that
on 23 November in Manchester when, with tenor Gervase Elwes, they gave another Gerontius
When Elgar asked her to help whip up interest in his ballet The Sanguine Fan
she agreed. But, at a Variety Matinee at the Palace Theatre on 22 May 1917,
his graceful tunes and her `Farewell
' by Tosti and Bridge's `Love went
' were simply lost amidst the welter of sound and activity. At
least, the concert benefited the War Emergency Fund of the Church of England
That summer, she joined twenty-one others in afternoon concerts at the Albert
Hall with the Royal Choral Society under conductor Sir Frederick Bridge. They
, Verdi's Requiem
and The Dream of Gerontius
Muriel may have taken part, but perhaps she was content to offer songs and
ballads. For Landon Ronald's own series each Sunday afternoon at Royal Albert
were the domain of a quintet of low-voiced lovelies, Clara Butt, Marguerite
D'Alvarez, Kirkby Lunn, Olga Haley and Muriel Foster.
Her work was not lost on The Musical Times: "Vocal recitals by Miss Muriel
Foster are events that are too rare. She is one of the elect few. It was gratifying
to find that she was in splendid voice and full of vitality on the occasion of
her appearance on 30 November 1917 in Wigmore Hall. The programme of course was
an exceptionally good one." She began with two airs by Bach, added
four Elizabethan songs, arranged by Keel, and then Chausson's Chanson Perpetuelle
op. 37. assisted by The Belgian String Quartet. "Perhaps the `big'
style reveals Miss Foster at her best, but there were not lacking moments
For her English group, she added: I am like a Remnant of a Cloud
Sleep that Flits on Baby's Eyes
; Fog Wraith
.. all by John Alden
and The Song of Autolveus
.. John Ireland; The Stranger's
... Balfour Gardiner.
For her second recital, given on 14 December 1917, the programme was entirely
English, comprehending songs by John Ireland (a new vocal rhapsody, the words
by Harold Munro, was a remarkable item), Roger Quilter, Janet Hamilton, Purcell,
Blow, Frank Bridge, Ruby Holland and Landon Ronald. Again we record the depth
and breadth of Miss Foster's interpretations." (10)
Muriel in a military setting? Yes, it happened at Queen's Hall on 31 January
1918 at a special Jubilee concert for Major J. Mackenzie Rogan. His Band of
The Coldstream Guards supplied the music and sabre-stirring effects. After Carillon
Muriel sang "Where Corals Lie" and "The Swimmer" from Sea
, re-scored by Rogan especially for this concert. Also featured
" from Sullivan's Ivanhoe
sung by Thorpe Bates
and music by Edward German, Frederic Cowen, Alexander Mackenzie, Eric Coates
Rogan himself. A national subscription enabled Arthur Fagge and Mackenzie to
present a healthy cheque to the good Major.
She continued to mix professional music-making with social high jinks. At a
recital on 27 February, she pulled out all stops, bringing her broad, warm
splendid voice to bear on many fine songs, three by Debussy, `Ballades
de François Villon
', very strikingly performed. In the summer, she
was back with Ronald at Royal Albert Hall. On 15 October, she was amongst a
party Elgar invited to Severn House to preview his Violin Sonata. Later that
month, Elgar on the cymbals and Muriel with Myra Hess portraying a nightingale,
gave a unique performance in Queen's Hall of Haydn's Toy Symphony
aid of the Red Cross.
At Wigmore Hall on 2 May 1919, she helped give a heartfelt send-off to the
late Lieut-Commander F. S. Kelly, a capable and earnest musician from Oxford
a wide reputation as pianist and composer. She was joined by Leonard Borwick,
M. Fleury (flautist) and the Queen's Hall Small Orchestra under Frank Bridge.
Kelly's music dominated, notably his Elegy
for String Orchestra and
Harp in memory of Rupert Brooke. Then, over a ten week season, beginning on
she again brightened Proms Concerts with the Royal Choral Society.
Although Elgar wrote music for Muriel to sing and had arranged songs
for her, oddly enough he had never dedicated any music to her. As early
had requested something special to sing in America. He did come close
subsequently with two dedications: in 1909 "A child at sleep
her son Anthony and in 1913 "Carissima
for small orchestra" for
her sister Winifred Stephens. That same year, according to Michael Kennedy
by Bury, Elgar began framing for her a scena (Callicles
) to a text by
Matthew Arnold. Nothing came of the effort. Their close ties continued until
Alice Elgar's passing.
Muriel was last outside the family to visit the dying Alice on 25 March
1920. Afterwards, Elgar spoke of the affectionate feeling the two shared. "She
always called Alice, `The little wren.' Alice was the glue that held
this little group together and when she was gone Elgar and Muriel drifted
many of his previous associations; she retired from singing to spend
time with family and friends and perhaps do a spot of teaching.
Finally, Landon Ronald in 1922: "A little winding road
Melba had made famous as an encore. "It is a song (one of a cycle
Songs of the Hill’
') which has been a great selling success,
and the artist who first sang the complete cycle was that exquisite singer
retired) Miss Muriel Foster." (11)
It is amazing to think this artist sang so much music that was either
totally new, or new to her particular audience. In addition to Elgar,
Verdi, Mendelssohn, Bach and Dvořák, she never neglected
English contemporaries like Stanford, Parry, Coleridge-Taylor and Walford
For Muriel, ever the serious, quintessential oratorio and concert singer, the
greasepaint and stage antics of opera held little appeal; she probably regarded
it all as silly nonsense. Similarly she avoided the recording horn, making
no records of Elgar's music, nor of anyone else's. Why we'll never know. Outside
the research by David Bury for the Elgar Society, just memories and a few photographs
Hopefully this pooling of information will add to the memory pile. In the pantheon
of great singers who helped English composers introduce their music, none is
more important than Muriel Foster. Her time on earth ended in London two days
before Christmas in 1937.
© Charles A Hooey
Muriel: The Angel - Choice Gerontius Performances
Bradford, 16 February, 1901 Prelude and Angel's Farewell with
Dusseldorf, 8 May, 1902 with Ludwig Wullner, Johannes Messchaert, conducted by
Worcester, 11 September, 1902 with John Coates (for Green), Harry Plunket Greene,
conducted by Elgar.
Sheffield, 2 October, 1902 with John Coates, David Ffrangcon-Davies, conducted
by Sir Edward Elgar
Edinburgh, 12 January, 1903 with John Coates, Robert Burnett, conducted by Frederic
Hanley, 13 March, 1903 with John Coates, Andrew Black, conducted by Elgar.
Birmingham, 26 March, 1903 with William Green, Andrew Black, conducted by G.
Middlesburgh, 23 April, 1903 with William Green, David Ffrangcon-Davies, conducted
Bristol, 25 April, 1903 with William Green, Daniel Price, conducted by George
Westminster Cathedral, London, 6 June, 1903 with Leopold Wullner, David Ffrangcon-Davies,
conducted by Elgar.
Hereford, 10 September, 1903 with Coates, Henry Lane Wilson, Harry Plunket Greene,
conducted by G. B. Sinclair.
Newcastle, 9 November, 1903 with William Green, David Ffrangcon-Davies, conducted
by J. M. Preston
Sheffield, 17 November, 1903 with Charles Saunders, Joseph Lycett, conducted
by Sir Henry Coward.
Glasgow, 24 November, 1903 with John Coates, Walter Harvey, conducted by J. Bradley
Cincinnati May Festival, 13 May, 1904 with William Green, Robert Watkin Mills,
conducted by Theodore Thomas.
Blackpool, 16 November, 1904 with John Coates, Frederic Austin, conducted by
Worcester, 12 September, 1905 with John Coates, Andrew Black
Hereford, 11 September, 1906 with John Coates, David Ffrangcon-Davies.
Manchester, 23 November, 1916 with Gervase Elwes, Charles Mott, conducted by
Sir Edward Elgar
Elgar And The Two Mezzos by David J. Bury, Thames
Two Centuries Of Music In Hull by Norman Staveley, Hutton Press,
1999, p. 86 plus research that helps illuminate Muriel's experiences in that
The Best Of Me, edited by Geoffrey Hodgkins, Elgar Editions, 1999
And The Three Choirs Festivals by Dr. Donald Hunt, Osborne Books Limited,
Music In England, 1885-1920 by Lewis Foreman, Thames Publishing,
John Coates by Dennis Foreman, The Record Collector, Vol. 38, No.
2 1993 + further research and photos
True Artist And Friend, a biography
of Hans Richter by Christopher Fifield, Clarendon Press, 1993
I would also like to acknowledge the assistance
of Geoff Whitlock in London who stumbled upon the 1911 Albani Farewell programme
with original news clippings still attached "amongst a pile of pianist
programmes in an ephemera shop." Invaluable too was detail of Muriel's
North American Tour discovered in old newspapers by the late Jim McPherson
of Toronto. Thanks
to Denham Ford and Tony Benson of the defunct Beecham Society in Britain
and to Andrew Neill and Richard Smith of the Elgar Society. Finally, thanks
Karin Batke for a most useful translation.
1. Atkins, E. Wulstan, The Elgar-Atkins Friendship, Newton Abbott: David & Charles,
2. Johnstone, Arthur, A New Kind of Musical Eloquence, 1905 (Reprinted in The
Best Of Me), p. 143
3. Niederrheinische Volkszeitung, 20 May, 1902 (translated by David Mason; reprinted
in The Best Of Me) p. 207
4. Wood, Sir Henry, My Life of Music, Gollancz, 1938, from The Elgar Journal,
Nov. 1998 p.263
5. Fuller-Maitland, J. A., A Door-keeper of Music, John Murray, London, 1929,
6. Bispham, David, A Quaker Singer's Recollections, The MacMillan Company, New
York, 1920, p. 311-312
7. McPherson, James, A quotation from a book about John McCormack, provided in
a letter to the author The Musical Times, July 1, 1914, p. 476
8. De Lara, Isidore, Many Tales of Many Cities, Hutchinson & Co. (Publishers)
Ltd, London 1928 p. 251
9. The Musical Times, Nov. 24, 1917 and Jan. 1, 1918
10. Ronald, Landon, Variations on a Personal Theme, Hodder and Stoughton Ltd,
1922, p. 64
11. Atkins, E, Wulstan: The Elgar-Atkins Friendship, Newton Abbot: David & Charles,
1984, p. 74