Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

The Edwardian Golden Summer

Donald Macleod and guest Terry Charman focus Elgar's life and work during the period of the Edwardian Golden Summer in 1914. With Land of Hope and Glory; Give unto the Lord, Op 74.

By the end of the Great War, Sir Edward Elgar couldn't compose any music to celebrate peace, disillusioned as he was by the whole period, which Donald Macleod explores in conversation with Terry Charman from the Imperial War Museum. At the outbreak of war, Elgar was noted for being more concerned about his beloved horses, than for any soldiers fighting. Little did anyone know how many horses or people would die in this conflict, which lasted more than the predicted three months. Elgar did do his bit though, joining the Special Reserve, conducting charity concerts to raise much needed funds, and composing the odd bit of jingoistic music to rally the people. It is the Great War period back at home in Great Britain, with Zeppelin raids, German cruisers shelling Whitby and Scarborough, to xenophobic riots in London, which Donald Macleod explores tracing how these events affected the life and music of Sir Edward Elgar.

1914, and in the age of Empire and British supremacy at sea, it was the Edwardian Golden Summer. Few people realised that war was looming, and commissions were coming in for Elgar, such as from the Sons of Clergy Festival at St. Paul's Cathedral, for which he composed his anthem Give unto the Lord. Soon, with motor vehicles requisitioned, and the unmistakable increase of men in khaki, the Great War had begun. Elgar soon received his first war commission in aid of the Belgian Fund, writing a work for narrator and orchestra, Carillon. But many of Elgar's most fierce supporters were German, including Hans Richter, to whom he dedicated his Three Bavarian Dances.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 23 Jun 2014 18:30

Music Played

  • Edward Elgar

    3 Bavarian dances for orchestra [from nos. 1, 3 & 6 of 'From the Bavarian highlands', Op.27]

    Orchestra: Bournemouth Sinfonietta. Conductor: Norman Del Mar.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN-6544.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 12.
  • Edward Elgar

    Sospiri Op.70 vers. for str, harp & org

    Orchestra: Bournemouth Sinfonietta. Conductor: George Hurst.
    • CHANDOS: CHAN6544.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 15.
  • Edward Elgar

    The King's Way

    Singer: Amanda Roocroft. Performer: Reinild Mees.
    • Channel Classics: CCS SA 28610.
    • Channel Classics.
    • 22.
  • Edward Elgar

    Land of hope and glory for chorus & orch, arr. Fagge (1914)from trio of Pomp and Circumstance march no.1

    Choir: London Symphony Chorus. Orchestra: Royal Northern Sinfonia. Conductor: Richard Hickox.
    • EMI: CDC7494812.
    • EMI.
    • 7.
  • Edward Elgar

    Carillon Op.75 for reciter and orchestra

    Orchestra: Rutland Sinfonia. Conductor: Barry Collett. Narrator: Richard Pasco.
    • PEARL : SHE CD-9602.
    • PEARL.
    • 1.
  • Edward Elgar

    Give unto the Lord (Psalm 29) Op.74 vers. for chorus and organ

    Choir: St John's College Cambridge Choir. Performer: Jonathan Vaughn. Conductor: Christopher Robinson.
    • NAXOS : 8.55-7288.
    • NAXOS.
    • 1.

Broadcasts

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.