The plot of Elgar’s King Olaf cantata has been criticized for it lack of cohesion, but the musical settings contain power, majesty, stirring melodies, joyous lyricism and a finale of immense proportion and emotional effect. As a lesser work of a great composer, it certainly bears study. As a work on its own, King Olaf rewards performers and listeners with superb moments. A final a capella Chorus, As Torrents In Summer, is frequently performed on its own.Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf is widely considered to be the best of Elgar’s pre-Enigma compositions. He was commissioned to write this work for the North Staffordshire Music Festival in 1896, and he chose to adapt sections of Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn with the assistance of his neighbour, the translator H A Acworth. Acworth reduced the length of Longfellow’s twenty-two sections to just eight with added material.