Edward Elgar
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1857-06-02
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Edward Elgar

Biography

Edward Elgar was the greatest English composer since Purcell, and the first to win widespread international recognition. The confidently crafted surface of his music conceals a complex and sensitive personality, shaped in hidebound Victorian society by consciousness of his status ...

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Biography

Edward Elgar was the greatest English composer since Purcell, and the first to win widespread international recognition. The confidently crafted surface of his music conceals a complex and sensitive personality, shaped in hidebound Victorian society by consciousness of his status as an outsider: he was the son of a music shopkeeper and piano tuner in provincial Worcester, and brought up as a Catholic. Elgar had a practical training as a performer on the violin and other instruments, and taught himself composition.

His reputation was slow to spread beyond the West Midlands, but he attained national prominence in 1899 when his ‘Enigma’ Variations were premiered in London. His next major work, the oratorio The Dream of Gerontius, quickly became successful in Britain and Germany. A heady decade followed which saw the composition of two further oratorios, The Apostles and The Kingdom, and a stream of orchestral works culminating in the First Symphony and the Violin Concerto.

Elgar moved to London, and took on the conductorship of the London Symphony Orchestra for the 1911/12 season. But the Second Symphony, the choral ode The Music Makers and the symphonic study Falstaff were discouragingly received.

After the premiere of the Cello Concerto in 1919 and the death of his wife the following year, Elgar moved back to the West Midlands and went into virtual retirement. However, he was working with renewed energy on an opera and a Third Symphony when he died in 1934.

Profile © Anthony Burton

Edward Elgar Audio & Video


Edward Elgar Tracks

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Edward Elgar
Sonata in G - 1st mov't
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Sonata in G - 1st mov't
Edward Elgar
Symphony no.2 in E flat major, Op.63 (Proms 2015)
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Symphony no.2 in E flat major, Op.63 (Proms 2015)
Edward Elgar
Chanson De Matin, Op.15 No.2
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Chanson De Matin, Op.15 No.2
Edward Elgar
Symphony no. 2 in E flat major Op.63 (BBC Symphony Orchestra tour to Holland)
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Symphony no. 2 in E flat major Op.63 (BBC Symphony Orchestra tour to Holland)
Edward Elgar
Pomp and circumstance marches (Op.39), no.2 in A minor;
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Pomp and circumstance marches (Op.39), no.2 in A minor;
Edward Elgar
Sea pictures for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (Op.37), no.3; Sabbath morning...
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Sea pictures for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (Op.37), no.3; Sabbath morning...
Edward Elgar
Nursery Suite
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Nursery Suite
Edward Elgar
Symphony no. 2 in E flat major Op.63
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Symphony no. 2 in E flat major Op.63
Edward Elgar
Enfants d'un reve (Dream Children), Op. 43
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Enfants d'un reve (Dream Children), Op. 43
Edward Elgar
Pomp and Circumstance March No.3 in C minor
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Pomp and Circumstance March No.3 in C minor
Edward Elgar
Cello concerto in E minor Op.85
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Cello concerto in E minor Op.85
Edward Elgar
Variations on an original theme ('Enigma') Op.36
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Variations on an original theme ('Enigma') Op.36
Edward Elgar
Piano Quintet in A minor Op. 84
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Piano Quintet in A minor Op. 84
Edward Elgar
The Wand of youth - suite no. 2 (Op.1b), March
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The Wand of youth - suite no. 2 (Op.1b), March
Edward Elgar
Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 in D major
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Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 in D major
Edward Elgar
Concerto in E minor Op.85 for cello and orchestra
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Concerto in E minor Op.85 for cello and orchestra
Edward Elgar
3 Bavarian dances for orchestra, no.1
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3 Bavarian dances for orchestra, no.1
Sir Hubert Parry
Jerusalem (feat. Darius Battiwalla)
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Jerusalem (feat. Darius Battiwalla)
Edward Elgar
Serenade for Strings (Op.20) in E minor
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Serenade for Strings (Op.20) in E minor
Edward Elgar
Sea pictures Op.37 for mezzo-soprano and orchestra
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Sea pictures Op.37 for mezzo-soprano and orchestra
Edward Elgar
Variations on an original theme 'Enigma' for orchestra (Op.36)
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Variations on an original theme 'Enigma' for orchestra (Op.36)
Edward Elgar
Salut d'amour played by Charlie Siem
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Salut d'amour played by Charlie Siem
Edward Elgar
Chanson du Matin played by Charlie Siem
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Chanson du Matin played by Charlie Siem
Edward Elgar
Sea pictures for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (Op.37), no.1; Sea slumber song
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Sea pictures for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (Op.37), no.1; Sea slumber song
Add music you love and enjoy it
Playlists featuring Edward Elgar
Essential Classics: Guest Choices
Essential Classics: Guest Choices
Radio 3 Breakfast: Music Box
Radio 3 Breakfast: Music Box
BBC Orchestras and Choirs
BBC Orchestras and Choirs
Stargazing LIVE: Music to Watch Stars By...
Stargazing LIVE: Music to Watch Stars By...


Edward Elgar Biography

Edward Elgar was the greatest English composer since Purcell, and the first to win widespread international recognition. The confidently crafted surface of his music conceals a complex and sensitive personality, shaped in hidebound Victorian society by consciousness of his status as an outsider: he was the son of a music shopkeeper and piano tuner in provincial Worcester, and brought up as a Catholic. Elgar had a practical training as a performer on the violin and other instruments, and taught himself composition.

His reputation was slow to spread beyond the West Midlands, but he attained national prominence in 1899 when his ‘Enigma’ Variations were premiered in London. His next major work, the oratorio The Dream of Gerontius, quickly became successful in Britain and Germany. A heady decade followed which saw the composition of two further oratorios, The Apostles and The Kingdom, and a stream of orchestral works culminating in the First Symphony and the Violin Concerto.

Elgar moved to London, and took on the conductorship of the London Symphony Orchestra for the 1911/12 season. But the Second Symphony, the choral ode The Music Makers and the symphonic study Falstaff were discouragingly received.

After the premiere of the Cello Concerto in 1919 and the death of his wife the following year, Elgar moved back to the West Midlands and went into virtual retirement. However, he was working with renewed energy on an opera and a Third Symphony when he died in 1934.

Profile © Anthony Burton

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