Celebrating British Music: Donald Macleod explores the life and work of the 'quintessentially English' composer, Edward Elgar, whose musical roots lay firmly in Europe, and whose Catholicism and class background bequeathed him a lifelong sense of isolation from mainstream British society.
Today's programme charts Elgar's progress during and after World War I. The blithe bluster of Carillon, written at the beginning of the conflict, gives way to the deep melancholy of the Cello Concerto, written at the other end of the collective European nightmare. Within a year of the concerto, Elgar's wife Alice died of undiagnosed lung cancer and from that point on he completed no new works of substance. He did, however, throw himself into a major recording project, committing interpretations of much of his own orchestral output to disc - the first such undertaking by a composer.