Sir Edward Elgar Biography Pomp & Circumstance March No.1
Edward William Elgar - (1857-1934) He was the first modern English composer whose choral and orchestral works gained international recognition and became one of the main figures of the last romantic period in Europe. He is known for such works as the Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstance Marches. His compositions also include concertos for violin and cello, two symphonies, oratorios, chamber music and songs. Surrounded by sheet music, instruments, and music textbooks in his father's shop in Worcester's High Street, the young Elgar became self-taught in music theory. On warm summer days, he would take scores into the countryside to study them, he was a passionate and adventurous early cyclistfrom the age of 5. Thus there began for him a strong association between music and nature. As he was later to say, "There is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take as much as you require."
Honors and awards 1904 He received the order of Knight 1911 He received the order of Merit 1924 He was made Master of the King's Musick 1925 He received the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society Between 1900 - 1931 Elgar received honorary degrees from the Universities of Cambridge, Durham, Leeds, Oxford, Yale (USA), Aberdeen, Western Pennsylvania (USA), Birmingham and London. Foreign academies of which he was made a member were Regia Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome; Accademia del Reale Istituto Musicale, Florence; Académie des Beaux Arts, Paris; Institut de France; American Academy of Arts.
Chronolgy of the English Classical Composers Baroque John Playford (1623-1686) John Blow (1649-1708) Henry Purcell (1659-1695) Jeremiah Clarke (1674-1707) Classical William Boyce (1711-1779) John Stanley (1712-1786) Karl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787) Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782) John Stafford Smith (1750-1836) Romantic William Crotch (1775-1847) John Field (1782-1837) William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875) Elias Parish Alvars (1808-1849) Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) Hubert Parry (1848-1918) Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Biography Elgar was born on June 2, 1857 at Broadheath, a village some three miles from the small city of Worcester in the English West Midlands. His father was William Elgar and his mother Anne Greening. Elgar was the fourth of their seven children. His father had a music shop in Worcester and tuned pianos. His mother, Anne, had converted to Roman Catholicism shortly before Edward's birth, so Edward was baptized and brought up as a Roman Catholic. Early years By the age of eight, he was taking piano and violin lessons, and would often listen to his father playing the organ at St. George's church, and soon also took it up. His prime interest, however, was the violin, and his first written music was for that instrument. Chanson de Matin
At the age of 15, Elgar left school and began working for a local solicitor . Around this time he made his first public appearances as a violinist and organist. After a few months, he left the solicitor and embarked on a musical career, giving piano and violin lessons, and working occasionally in his father's shop. At 22 he took up the post of bandmaster at the Worcester and County Lunatic Asylum in Powick, three miles south-west of Worcester, a progressive institution which believed in the recuperative powers of music. He composed here too; some of the pieces for the asylum orchestra (music in dance forms) In his first trips abroad in 1880–1882 , Elgar visited Paris and Leipzig, attended concerts by first rate orchestras, and was exposed to the music of Richard Wagner, an immensely popular musician of the time.
At 29, through his teaching, he met Caroline Alice Roberts , daughter of the late Major-General Sir Henry Roberts and a published author of verse and prose fiction. Eight years older than Elgar, Alice became his wife three years later, against the wishes of her family. They were married on 8 May 1889, at Brompton Oratory. As an engagement present, Elgar presented her with the short violin and piano piece Salut d'Amour . The Elgars moved to London to be closer to the centre of British musical life and Edward started composing in earnest. The stay was unsuccessful, however, and they were obliged to return to Great Malvern, where Edward could earn a living teaching and conducting local musical ensembles. Their only child, Carice Irene, was born at their Avonmore Road home in Fulham on 14 August 1890. She was called by the name revealed in Elgar's dedication of Salut d'Amour , a contraction of her mother's names Caroline and Alice. Salut d’amour
Elgar's Salut d'Amour is one of his best-known works
Growing reputation During the 1890s Elgar gradually built up a reputation as a composer , chiefly of works for the great choral festivals of the English Midlands. The Black Knight and King Olaf (1896), both inspired by Longfellow, The Light of Life and Caractacus were all modestly successful and he obtained a long-standing publisher in Novello and Company. At the age of 42, Elgar's produced his first major orchestral work , the Enigma Variations , which was premiered in London under the baton of the eminent German conductor Hans Richter. The following year saw the production at the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival of his choral setting of Cardinal Newman's poem The Dream of Gerontius. Elgar is probably best known for the five Pomp and Circumstance Marches , composed between 1901 and 1930.
In 1904 Elgar and his family moved to Plas Gwyn , a large house on the outskirts of Hereford, overlooking the River Wye, and they lived there until 1911. Between 1902 and 1914 Elgar enjoyed phenomenal success , made four visits to the USA including one conducting tour, and earned considerable fees from the performance of his music. Between 1905 and 1908 Elgar held the post of Peyton Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham Elgar's Symphony No.1 (1908) was given one hundred performances in its first year. The Violin Concerto in B minor (1910) was commissioned by the world-renowned violinist Fritz Kreisler and was a resounding success, premiered by Kreisler with the Philharmonic Society of London, the composer conducting. In 1911 , the year of the completion of his Symphony No.2, he had the Order of Merit bestowed upon him. In 1912 he moved back to London, again to be closer to musical society but to the detriment of his love of the countryside and to his general mood. Nimrod – Enigma Variations
Later years After the death of his wife in 1920, loneliness and declining interest in his art fostered little in the way of new works of importance. Shortly before her death he composed the elegiac Cello Concerto , often described as his last masterpiece. Elgar lived in the village of Kempsey, Worcestershire from 1923 to 1927 . It was during this time, a few weeks before the performance of his Empire March and eight songs Pageant of Empire for the 1924 British Empire Exhibition, that he was made Master of the King's Musick. At the end of his life Elgar began work on an opera, The Spanish Lady , and accepted a commission from the BBC to compose a Third Symphony. His final illness prevented their completion. Some time later, in cooperation with the BBC and Elgar's daughter, Percy Young produced a version of the Spanish Lady, which was issued on CD. He died on February 23, 1934 and was buried, at St. Wulstan's Church in Little Malvern, next to his wife Alice.
Elgar’s main works: Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma) for orchestra Chanson de Nuit - Chanson de Matin for orchestra 1899 Caractacus, cantata 1898 Imperial March for orchestra 1897 From the Bavarian Highlands, six choral songs 1896 Organ Sonata No 1 in G major 1895 The Snow; Fly, Singing Bird - part songs 1894 Spanish Serenade (Stars of the Summer Night), part-song 1891 Froissart, concert overture 1890 Salut d'Amour for violin and piano 1888 Sevillana for small orchestra 1884 Suite in D for small orchestra 1882 Four Dances for wind quintet 1879 Promenades for wind quintet 1878 Humoreske Broadheath, incidental music for a children's play 1867
Funeral March, orchestration of piano sonata by Chopin Symphony No 3 The Spanish Lady, unfinished opera 1933 Organ Sonata No 2, orchestrated Atkins 1932 Pomp and Circumstance March no 5 in C major 1930 Empire March for orchestra 1924 Cello Concerto in E minor 1919 Falstaff, symphonic study for orchestra 1913 Symphony No 2 in E flat major Coronation March for orchestra 1911 Violin Concerto in B minor 1910 Pomp and Circumstance March no 4 in G major 1907 Pomp and Circumstance March no 3 in C minor 1904 Pomp and Circumstance March no 1 in D major The Dream of Gerontius, oratorio Pomp and Circumstance March no 2 in A minor Cockaigne (In London Town), concert overture 1900