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Sir Edward Elgar

June 2, 1857 - February 23, 1934
born in Broadheath, near Worcester, England, composed during the Romantic period
One of the pre-eminent musical figures of his time, Edward William Elgar (1857-1934) bridged the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as the finest English composer since the days of Handel and Purcell. Elgar's father owned a music shop and was a church organist who taught his son piano, organ, and violin; apart from this instruction, Elgar was basically self-taught as a musician. At the age of 16, the composer became a freelance musician and for the remainder of his life never took a permanent job. He conducted locally, performed, taught, and composed, scraping by until his marriage to Caroline Alice Roberts, a published novelist of some wealth, in 1889.

Elgar had by this time achieved only limited recognition. He and his wife moved to London, where he scarcely fared better in advancing his career. They couple eventually retreated to Worcester, Elgar suffering from bitter self-doubt and depression. Alice stood by him the entire time, her unfailing confidence restoring his spirits. He was further buoyed by the success of his Imperial March, Op. 32, which earned him a publisher and a vital friendship with August Jaeger, his editor and confidant. In 1899, Elgar composed one of his best-known works, the "Enigma" Variations, Op. 36, which catapulted him to fame. The work is a cryptic tribute to Alice and to the many friends who stood behind the composer in the shaky early days of his career. German conductor Hans Richter proclaimed it a masterpiece, and his performances of the work in Britain and Germany established the composer's lasting success.

Elgar's most fruitful period was the first decade of the twentieth century, during which he wrote some of his noblest, most expressive music, including the Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55 (1907-1908), and the Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61 (1909-1910). His best-known works from this period, however, are the first four of his Pomp and Circumstance Marches (1901-1907); the first of these, subtitled "Land of Hope and Glory," became an unofficial second national anthem for the British Empire.

Elgar suffered a blow when Jaeger (the "Nimrod" of the "Enigma" Variations) died in 1909. The composer's productivity dropped, and the horrors of World War I deepened his melancholy outlook. His music became more intimate, even anguished; still, he wrote some of his best chamber music during this period, as well as the masterly Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85 (1919), whose deep feeling of sadness and impending loss surely relates to the final illness of his faithful Alice, who died in 1920.

For some time after that, he wrote little of significance but made a historic foray into the recording studios when new electrical recording processes were developed; the fortunate result was a number of masterly interpretations of his own orchestral music that have survived for posterity. In the early '30s, Elgar set to work on a third symphony, left unfinished at his death in 1934. The work was brought to a generally well-received realization by Anthony Payne in the late '90s and was subsequently recorded. ~ Rovi Staff, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Edward Elgar: The Black Knight, Op.25/Scenes From the Bavarian Highlands, Op.27

Title: The Black Knight, Cantata For Chorus & Orchestra, Op. 25
Title: Scenes From The Bavarian Highlands, Songs (6) Arranged For Chorus & Piano (or Orchestra), Op. 27a
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Track List: Elgar: Orchestral Miniatures

Title: Froissart, Concert Overture For Orchestra, Op. 19
Title: May Song, For Piano (also For Violin & Piano Or Orchestra)
Title: Carissima, For Small Orchestra (or Piano)
Title: Romance, For Bassoon & Orchestra (also Arr. For Cello & Piano), Op. 62
Title: Characteristic Pieces (3), For Orchestra, Op. 10
Title: Minuet, For Piano (later Orchestrated), Op. 21
Title: Characteristic Pieces (3), For Orchestra, Op. 10
Title: Pieces (2) ("Chanson De Matin" & "Chanson De Nuit"), For Violin & Piano (Later Orchestrated), Op. 15
Title: Bavarian Dances (3), For Orchestra, Op. 27b
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Track List: Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance Marches 1-5; Enigma Varistions

Title: Enigma Variations, For Orchestra, Op. 36
Title: Cockaigne Overture ("In London Town"), Concert Overture For Orchestra & Organ, Op. 40
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Track List: Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius - The Music Makers / Gedda, Watts, Lloyd, Baker; Boult

Disc 1
Title: The Music Makers, Ode For Alto, Chorus, Organ & Orchestra, Op. 69
Title: The Dream Of Gerontius, Oratorio For Soloists, Chorus & Orchestra, Op. 38
Disc 2
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Track List: Elgar: The Kingdom

Disc 1
Title: The Kingdom, Oratorio For Soloists, Chorus & Orchestra, Op. 51
Disc 2
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Track List: Elgar: The Wand Of Youth; Nursery Suite

Title: Wand Of Youth, Suite No.1, For Orchestra, Op. 1a
Title: Wand Of Youth, Suite No.2, For Orchestra, Op. 1b
Title: Dream Children, For Small Orchestra (or Piano), Op. 43
Title: Nursery Suite, For Orchestra
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Track List: Elgar: Violin Concerto

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Track List: Great Recordings Of The Century - Elgar: Violin Concerto, 'Enigma' Variations / Elgar, Menuhin

x

Track List: The Lighter Elgar

Title: Pieces (2) ("Chanson De Matin" & "Chanson De Nuit"), For Violin & Piano (Later Orchestrated), Op. 15
Title: Beau Brummel, Incidental Music
Title: The Starlight Express, Incidental Music, Op. 78
Title: Wand Of Youth, Suite No.1, For Orchestra, Op. 1a
Title: Dream Children, For Small Orchestra (or Piano), Op. 43
Title: Salut D'amour, For Violin & Piano, Op. 12
Title: Minuet, For Piano (later Orchestrated), Op. 21
Title: May Song, For Piano (also For Violin & Piano Or Orchestra)
Title: Rosemary ("That's For Remembrance - Douce Pensée"), For Orchestra
Title: Romance, For Bassoon & Orchestra (also Arr. For Cello & Piano), Op. 62
Title: Sevillana (Scène Espagnole), For Orchestra, Piano, Or Military Band, Op. 7
Title: Sérénade Lyrique, For Small Orchestra
Title: Characteristic Pieces (3), For Orchestra, Op. 10
Title: Carissima, For Small Orchestra (or Piano)
Title: Mina, For Small Orchestra

Comments

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ritabee4
What was the song or selection play ed at the end of the movie Saving Private Ryan ?
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Was he the first composer to take gramophone?
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movie elizaeth
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Sir Elgar scored very well in his life & work, leaving behind great works for posterity, despite setbacks which he was able to overcome and creatively transcend, namely, post-deep losses of his long-time confidant and faithful, supportive wife; Elgar’s peak creative years gained him national and internationa l fame. His wife, Lady Elgar, a successful, inspirationa l writer, recognized his original and unique genius, with determinatio n and a dogged faith in Edward's emerging creative talent.
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He worked hard, never gave up, and written some beautiful music , & his wife was very supportive.
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classical music makes me want to be a princess in a beautiful dress ,dancing with a handsome prince!
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Elgar: definitely one of my all-time favorite composers.
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A melody from Enigma variations was appropriated by Rob D in Clubbed to death. Check it out if you've never heard it! Just goes to show that a great melody is timeless, powerful, and universal.
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Love his Sérénade Lyrique which I think is also the theme from Somewhere in Time movie w/Jane Seymour- Christopher Reeve.
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Love enigma variations the best that elgar wrote
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Love Enigma Variations! The best that Elgar wrote.
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So, what's not to like about Elgar? He distilled the spirit of England...be a u t i f u l l y and powerfully.
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It sounds like something that should be on Sherlock.
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This piece is one of many reasons why Elgar is my favourite orchestral composer!!! Love his work!
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peckony
The beautiful haunting sound of his Elgar's Romance for bassoon and orchestra!
I am a bassonist these 74 years, since high school, how sweet it is!.
Auntie AA
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I like Nigel Kennedy! He's a good violinist!
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I very much like Elgar's Salut d'Amour
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lkgrebnel
Yehudi Menuhin produces such richness, bell-ringing clarity. Oh, that I could afford the album
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How lovely. I could listen to this forever. Thanks Pandora for sharing this with us.
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Elgar is a musical genius! WOW
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sevag31
Elgar's music is eternal! Always spiritually uplifting. Thank you so much for broadcasting his music for us to share.
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Elgar's music has so many layers, one has to listen very closely to get the full impact. One may listen for enjoyment, use it to study by, or really listen and receive the joy and peace that it provides. Are we not blessed to have such beauty?
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that's a big wow
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His music just makes my heart smile.
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WONDERFULL
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Absolutely stunning piece of music. The Dream of Gerontius has always been a great favourite and must be one of the most powerful choral works ever written. Sheer genius, but not heard enough.
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If you love Elgar's instrumental music as much as I do, you'll flip over his choral works: especially Banner of St. George and Te Deum!
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em_wright
Narnia and the north! did you put a song in there? anyways, i like
you Edward Elgar!
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em_wright
thanks for pomp and circumstance !!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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renegade2142 3
Bass|bass|sn a r e | h i - h a t | h i - h a t | b a s s | B a s s | s n a r e The matrix is all around us Neo. LOL
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sole_strings
Thanks for that Information Joan, I play an stringed instrument and plan to try to reach my self the Violin at some point in my life too. Hopefully soon . . .
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jleeson2
I found a book about Elgar in a British "Charity Jumble" shop a couple of years back. Very interesting life--a son of a poor schoolmaster , self-taught violinest, but persistent as all get out in wanting to make his living in music. He wrote a lot of small choral pieces for local groups (Britain still has many such 'amateur' choral groups from local areas) as well as original pieces for local church music productions. He actually DID get to enjoy knowing his talent and music were apprecitated !
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A window into the soul.
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daimark54
It breaks my heart that the great musicians often never know how beloved they are before their death. I hope in heaven their music sung by the angels and God says, "Well done my child."
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pretty interesting!
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131509586
Makes for easy listening. Very pastoral!
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My ears perk up when his music is being played. It's all so wonderful.
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Excellent English Music.
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A statue of Edward Elgar may be found within walking distance of Worcester Cathedral in Worcester, England.
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JOHN AMES SAYS: SIR EDWARD ELGAR......A FINE ENGLISH COMPOSER!!!! LISTEN TO ELGAR'S SYMPHONY NO. 1 IN A FLAT MAJOR, OPUS 55. A NOBLE WORK!!!!
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.......the nimrod is very beautiful... . . . . . .
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This composer was recommended to me by a ph.D in flute at Univ.of Missouri

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