Sursum corda (Elgar)

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Sursum corda, Op. 11 is a musical work by the English composer Edward Elgar for strings, brass, timpani and organ, composed in 1894. The composer dedicated it to his friend Henry Dyke Acland (1850-1936), an amateur cellist who was his golfing companion, manager of the Worcester Old Bank in Malvern, and son of Henry Acland.[1][2][3]

It was first performed at Worcester Cathedral on 9 April 1894, under the baton of Hugh Blair, organist of the cathedral. The composer was absent from this performance due to the ill health.[1][4][5] Its first London performance took place at a Queen's Hall Promenade Concert on 21 September 1901.

The title translates from the Latin to read, "Lift up your hearts".


The work is scored for strings, 2 trumpets in B, 4 horns in F, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani and organ.


Adagio solenne b flat major 2/4

The work begins with b flat call of brass. Strings expose main subject shown in excerpt 1.

Excerpt 1

\relative c' \new Staff \with { \remove "Time_signature_engraver" } {
 \key bes \major \time 2/4 \partial 8.
  bes16\p \< ^\markup \italic sonore ( c d\!) f4~^\markup \italic ten. f16 f\<( g a\!)
  \acciaccatura f8 f'4~ f16 es( d c) g4. es16.->( d32) d4( c16) c\<( d es\!)

After the climax, the music calms down. A new material is provided in the dialogue between organ and strings following the b flat call (Excerpt 2).

Excerpt 2

\relative c' \new Staff \with { \remove "Time_signature_engraver" } {
 \key bes \major \time 2/4 \tempo "Poco più mosso."
    <d' bes d,>8.\mf ^\markup (Org) ( <c a>16 <bes g> <a fis> d, <fis c>) s2
    <f' d f,>8. ^\markup (Org) ( <es bes~>16 <d bes> <c f,~> f, <a c>)
   { s2 \voiceOne \acciaccatura d,8 d'8.\sf ^\markup (Vn) ( c16) bes\>( a) d,( es\!) s2 }

Second climax, developed from excerpt 2, is followed by reappearance of excerpt 1. Brass call indicates the end of the final climax, and coda, using excerpt 1 and other materials, concludes the work with satisfying sound of tutti.

Average performance of this work needs approximately 10 minutes.[5]


The work is transcribed for concert band by Bruce Houseknecht. This band version was published in 1967 by Carl Fischer, Inc.


  1. ^ a b Kennedy, p.342
  2. ^ Moore, p.177
  3. ^ Moore, p.225
  4. ^ Moore, p.179
  5. ^ a b Foreman, Lewis (1989). Elgar: The Kingdom (PDF) (Media notes). Colchester, England: Chandos Records. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.


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