Elegy (1965)
For orchestra


First performed June 1, 1966 by the San Francisco Symphony, Verne Sellin, conductor; War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, CA


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Scored for 2 flutes (1st doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 1 trumpet, bass trombone, timpani, percussion, piano, strings.

Duration  7 minutes



Louisville Orchestra; Sidney Harth, conductor First Edition FECD-0002 (2001 reissue)
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; Leonard Slatkin, conductor RCA Victor (BMG) 09026-68100-2 (1996)
I Fiamminghi (the Orchestra of Flanders); Rudolf Werthen,conductor Telarc CD-80421 (1996)
CBC Vancouver Orchestra; Mario Bernardi, conductor CBC Enterprises SMCD5050-2 (1986)


Program note

My “Elegy” is based on an incidental score I wrote for an off Broadway production of Wallace Grey’s “Helen” – an account of the aging Helen of Troy. The “Elegy” develops ideas which originally accompanied the bittersweet love scene between Helen (age 40) and Telemachus (age 20) The brief work, set at a single slow tempo, begins quickly with a key passage for paired flutes, builds during its course to two double forte climaxes for full orchestra, and finally subsides for a pianissimo close for strings and woodwinds. Stylistically, as the dedication to Samuel Barber might suggest, the work identifies itself with neo-romantic American style, typified in a diversity of works by Barber himself, Walter Piston, or William Schuman.

                     — John Corigliano

© 2021 John Corigliano | Designed by Wlad Marhulets | Artwork photos by Richard Howe