GMNYour Arts Network
Home Classical Jazz Opera Ballet Theater World Shop Contests Forums

GMN Premium

 Special Offers
 Best Sellers
 Gift Subscriptions

Visit our NEW! Discussion Forums
(Registration Required)

FREE Newsletter

The GMN Shop
Content Archive
The MediaPlayer
Free Music
Grove Dictionary
All Searches

 Sign In
 New User Sign Up
 Select a Player

Elgar, Edward
 Listen To Music
 List/Buy Works


Sir Edward (William) Elgar

(b Broadheath, nr. Worcester, 2 June 1857; d Worcester. 23 Feb 1934). English composer. He had violin lessons in Worcester and London but was essentially self-taught, learning much in his father's music shop. From the age of 16 he worked locally as a violinist, organist, bassoonist, conductor and teacher, also composing abundantly though not yet very individually: the accepted corpus of his works belongs almost entirely to the period after his 40th birthday.

His first attempt to establish himself in London was premature. He moved there with his wife Alice in 1889, but in 1891 thet returned to Malvern, and he began to make a reputation more steadily with choral works: The Black Knight, The Light of Life, King Olaf and Caratacus. These were written within a specifically English tradition, but they were influenced also by German music from Weber, Schumann and Mendelssohn to Brahms and Wagner. The orchestral Enigma Variations (1899), in which each variation portrays a different friend of Elgar's, then proclaimed the belated arrival of a fully formed original style, taken further in the oratorio The Dream of Gerontius (1900), where the anxious chromatisicm of a post-Parsifal manner is answered by the assurances of the Newman text: Elgar was himself a Roman Catholic, which may have been one cause of his personal insecurity.

Gerontius and the Variations made him internationally famous, but he remained in Worcestershire, composing mostly in the same two genres: The Apostles and The Kingdom were two parts of a never completed triptych of oratorios, and a sequence of short orchestral pieces was followed by a long awaited and much acclaimed First Symphony, swiftly joined by the Violin Concerto and Second Symphony. By 1912 the Elgars had at last settled in London, but after the outbreak of war he acheived little besides the deeply reflective Cello Concerto, and after his wife's death in 1920 almost nothing. In 1923 he went back to Worcester, and though he occasionally worked at new pieces - a completion of the oratorio trilogy, a Third Symphony, an opera after Jonson's The Devil is an Ass - his composing life was over. He did, however, work energetically at recording much of his music for the gramophone.

The celebrated nobility of his music has been seen as evocative of British imperial glory, but its deeper qualities are of aspiration and nostalgia: they are qualities of an intimately personal expression, but also of a style created at the end of a tradition. For though the Straussian tone poem Falstaff is one of his subtlest creations, most usually his symphonic forms looked back to Schumann and, in point of thematic transformation, Franck. But his highly characteristic and often extended melodic themes suggest a connection with Bruckner's in their tonal and rhythmic stability (there is often an underlying slow march metre) and their implication of unusual harmonic relationships.

Cantatas and oratorios: The Black Knight (1892); The Light of Life (1896); Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf (1896); Caratacus (1898); Sea Pictures, mezzo, orch (1898); The Dream of Gerontius (1900); The Apostles (1902); The Kingdom (1906); The Music Makers (1912).

Orchestral Music: Froissart, ov. (1890); Serenade, str (1892); Enigma Variations (1899); Cockaigne, ov. (1901); Pomp and Circumstance, 5 marches (1901-30); In the South, ov. (1904); Introduction and Allegro, str (1905); Wand of Youth, Suites nos. 1 and 2 (1907-8); Sym. no.1 (1908); Vn Conc. (1910); Romance, bn, orch (1910); Sym. no.2 (1911); Falstaff, sym. poem (1913); Vc Conc. (1919); Severn Suite, brass band (1930).

Chamber and instrumental music: Salut d'amour, pf/vn, pf/etc (1889); Org sonata (1895); Chanson de nuit, Chanson de matin (c.1897); Vn sonata (1918); Str.Qt (1918); Pf Qnt (1919); pf music.

Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK

 Classical News
Festival Preview - Pigtales in Aspen
A pig with hair to make Goldilocks blush and who is more concerned with true love than becoming sausages. There's meat in Gruber's opera premiered to be premiered in Aspen...

Goodbye to Berlin
Claudio Abbado conducts his Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for the final time in Vienna to great ovations and celebrations of a top-rank conducting career...

GMN artists prominent at Proms 2002
The BBC Promenade Concerts for 2002 have been announced and, as usual, feature a feast of musical luninaries, with many of the concert highlights coming from GMN's illustrious family...

More Classical News

 Featured Item

Read more

gmnyour arts network 
 GMN ClassicalPlus   GMN JazzPlus 
Become an Affiliate Contact Us Advertising News Links
Home Register Terms of Use Privacy Policy Information Center Help

Copyright © 1999 - 2001 Global Music Network Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Music downloads, audio and video provided for personal, non-commercial use only and may not be re-distributed.

Fri, Mar 31, 2023 5:18:46 AM US EST
back to top
0.09375 Seconds
v4.0b - - True