EVERETT — Paul-Elliott Cobbs is sounding the call.
“The British Are Coming!”
That’s the title the director has given to Everett Philharmonic Orchestra’s season-opening concert Sunday, showcasing the music of British composers William Walton and Sir Edward Elgar.
Guest artist is cellist John Michel, who will be performing an Elgar cello concerto.
“Season openers are always exciting, and this concert will be no exception,” Cobbs said.
The concert begins with Walton’s “Orb and Sceptre,” which was written in 1953 for the coronation ceremony of 27-year-old Elizabeth II. The music is bright and engaging with a middle section that is quieter and more dignified. The tone reflects the optimism Great Britain felt as it was about to crown the young queen, Cobbs said.
Walton, who died in 1983, also wrote opera, film scores, choral works, symphonies and a viola concerto that brought him fame in 1929.
Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, is counted as the last of his notable works. Contemplative and intimate, the concerto was written near the end of World War I. For much of the piece, it seems as if the cello is talking directly to you, Cobbs said. Though pyrotechnics are evident in the hustle and bustle of the second movement, the overall feeling is one of reflection, he said.
Michel is in his 25th year as a cello professor at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, and is a regular soloist and chamber music performer throughout the region.
Elgar, who is perhaps best known for his “Pomp and Circumstance,” was a self-taught composer who struggled to achieve success until his 40s. It was then that he produced the “Enigma Variations” and cemented his reputation as the leading composer of Edwardian England.
The Philharmonic will perform the variations on Sunday. (Seattle Symphony also is performing the “Enigma Variations” this weekend, so you don’t have to drive there to hear the piece.)
Each of the 14 variations represented the personality of a friend or acquaintance. At first, their identities were kept secret, but eventually the composer provided a list. They include, among others, Elgar’s wife, a skilled pianist practicing, a hiker stuck in a thunderstorm, a gracious spinster with an adorable laugh, a charming girl with a slight stutter, and a bulldog that jumps into the river only to emerge with a ferocious bark. Right at the center is the beautiful “Nimrod” variation, honoring a close friend who encouraged the composer at a moment of despair. The ending gives us Elgar’s view of himself, in his full-blown “Pomp and Circumstance” style.
“The delightful variety of this showpiece makes it a real crowd-pleaser,” Cobbs said.
If you go
Everett Philharmonic Orchestra, 3 p.m. Oct. 8, Everett Civic Auditorium, 2415 Colby Ave. Stage-side chat with director Paul-Elliott Cobbs at 2 p.m. Tickets will available at door beginning at 1:45 p.m., or in advance at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3083114. Cost is $25 general admission, $20 for seniors and military, $10 for youth and students with ID, and free for children under age 12 accompanied by an adult. Season tickets are still available. More at www.everettphil.org.