Edward Elgar
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1857-06-02
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Edward Elgar Biography (BBC)

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 Biography (Wikipedia)

Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. He also composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924.

Although Elgar is often regarded as a typically English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe. He felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially. In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer; in Protestant Britain, his Roman Catholicism was regarded with suspicion in some quarters; and in the class-conscious society of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he was acutely sensitive about his humble origins even after he achieved recognition. He nevertheless married the daughter of a senior British army officer. She inspired him both musically and socially, but he struggled to achieve success until his forties, when after a series of moderately successful works his Enigma Variations (1899) became immediately popular in Britain and overseas. He followed the Variations with a choral work, The Dream of Gerontius (1900), based on a Roman Catholic text that caused some disquiet in the Anglican establishment in Britain, but it became, and has remained, a core repertory work in Britain and elsewhere. His later full-length religious choral works were well received but have not entered the regular repertory.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Edward Elgar Performances & Interviews


Edward Elgar Tracks

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Edward Elgar
Sea pictures for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (Op.37), no.4; Where corals lie
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Sea pictures for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (Op.37), no.4; Where corals lie
Edward Elgar
Cello Concerto in E minor, Op.85 (1st mvt: Adagio - Moderato)
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Cello Concerto in E minor, Op.85 (1st mvt: Adagio - Moderato)
Edward Elgar
Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 82 - iii. Allegro, non troppo
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Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 82 - iii. Allegro, non troppo
Edward Elgar
Severn Suite for brass band (Op.87)
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Severn Suite for brass band (Op.87)
Edward Elgar
Symphony No. 1 in A flat, op. 55
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Symphony No. 1 in A flat, op. 55
Edward Elgar
Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma') Op.36 For Orchestra
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Variations On An Original Theme ('Enigma') Op.36 For Orchestra
Edward Elgar
Elegy, Op.58
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Elegy, Op.58
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Serenade For String Orchestra In E Minor Opus 20: I- Allegro Piacevole
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Serenade For String Orchestra In E Minor Opus 20: I- Allegro Piacevole
Edward Elgar
Lux aeterna (arr. for chorus from 'Nimrod' of 'Enigma' variations)
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Lux aeterna (arr. for chorus from 'Nimrod' of 'Enigma' variations)
Edward Elgar
Cello Concerto in E minor, Op 85; 1st movement
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Cello Concerto in E minor, Op 85; 1st movement
Edward Elgar
Serenade for Strings (Op.20)
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Serenade for Strings (Op.20)
Edward Elgar
March of the Mogul emperors from The Crown of India, Suite, Op.66
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March of the Mogul emperors from The Crown of India, Suite, Op.66
Edward Elgar
Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op.20
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Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op.20
Edward Elgar
Pleading Op.48
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Pleading Op.48
Edward Elgar
Carillon Op.75
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Carillon Op.75
Edward Elgar
Le Drapeau belge Op.79
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Le Drapeau belge Op.79
Edward Elgar
Une voix dans le desert Op.77
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Une voix dans le desert Op.77
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
They are at rest
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They are at rest
Edward Elgar
Concerto for cello and orchestra in E minor (Op.85)
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Concerto for cello and orchestra in E minor (Op.85)
Edward Elgar
Douce Pensee 'Rosemary'
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Douce Pensee 'Rosemary'
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Playlists featuring Edward Elgar


Past BBC Events

Proms 1933: Prom 05
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/evv5d4
Queen's Hall
1933-08-17T23:06:37
17
Aug
1933

Proms 1933: Prom 05

20:00
Queen's Hall
Proms 1931: Prom 46
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e4d38g
Queen's Hall
1931-10-01T23:06:37
1
Oct
1931

Proms 1931: Prom 46

20:00
Queen's Hall
Proms 1930: Prom 47
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/edzrbp
Queen's Hall
1930-10-02T23:06:37
2
Oct
1930

Proms 1930: Prom 47

20:00
Queen's Hall
Proms 1924: Prom 58 - In the presence of Their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/eqxwrz
Queen's Hall
1924-10-15T23:06:37
15
Oct
1924

Proms 1924: Prom 58 - In the presence of Their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary

20:00
Queen's Hall
Proms 1921: Prom 35
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/efdp5v
Queen's Hall
1921-09-22T23:06:37
22
Sep
1921

Proms 1921: Prom 35

20:00
Queen's Hall

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