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Edward Elgar also known as Sir Edward - View Sheet Music for this Artist
  • a.k.a.: Edvard William Elgar
  • Nationality: English
  • 1857 - 1934
  • You might know him for: Enigma Variations, Land of Hope and Glory

Edward Elgar, one of the best known English composers, was born in Broadheath, near Worcester, on 2. June 1857. As his father was a music dealer and organist young Edward had plenty of opportunities to study numerous works in his father`s shop; thus he discovered his interest in music and developed a talent for it. He was an excellent violinist and also played the organ and the bassoon.

His slow progress as a composer can be explained by the fact that he lived far removed from any centre of music and held no important post. After his marriage to Caroline Roberts (1889) he moved to London hoping to further his career and achieve recognition. He published minor works (e.g. “Salut d`Amour”) but in the end the move proved unproductive, and the Elgars returned to Worcestershire in 1891. At last the public, especially in the Midlands, became interested in his larger works, also the choral societies were interested in new and exciting compositions. The works of this period include “The Black Knight” (1893), “Lux Christi” (”The Light of Life”, 1896) and “King Olaf”, which was performed at Crystal Palace in 1897. His talent was finally recognized after he had composed the “Enigma Variations” (1899) and two of altogether five “Pomp and Circumstances” marches (1901). He himself said that he could not understand why the ordinary quick march should not be dealt with in a great tone poem like the waltz and the polka.

In due time Elgar became King Edward VII. favourite composer and national recognition came in 1904 in the form of a knighthood. Despite all this success he remained relatively poor, so that he accepted a professorship at the newly created music faculty at Birmingham University in 1904. Due to poor health he held this post only till 1908. During this year his 1.Symphony was performed in Manchester. In 1910 the composition of his violin concerto was finished, his 2.Symphony in 1911 and in 1913 the symphonic study “Fallstaff”, in which he expressed his love of Shakespeare, was produced in Leeds. At this time the Elgars went to live in London again. “The Spirit of England” is a composition that was finished during the war and contains his best music of that period. After the war Elgar composed a violin sonata, a piano quintet and a cello concerto, all remarkable for their quality.

After the death of his wife in 1920 Elgar preferred a quiet life in semi-retirement in Worcestershire. His friendship with Bernard Shaw stimulated his desire to compose again and he started work on a third symphony, a piano concerto and an opera. All three works he had to leave unfinished when he died on 23. February 1934.

Elgar`s music is famous for its bold tonal pictures and colourful and effective orchestration, which he learnt from Wagner. He is considered to be one of the last great romantic composers.

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