Edward Elgar

Elgar, Sir Edward William

Sir Edward William Elgar (ĕl´gär), 1857–1934, English composer. He received his training from his father, who was an organist, music seller, and amateur violinist. In 1885 he succeeded his father as organist of St. George's Church, Worcester. Elgar was also a violinist, bassoonist, arranger, and conductor. Imperial March, composed in 1897 for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, brought him recognition. Among his compositions are Variations on an Original Theme (1899; known as Enigma Variations); The Dream of Gerontius (1900), a cantata using Cardinal Newman's poem as a text; two symphonies (1908, 1911); the Cello Concerto (1919); and the Violin Concerto in B minor (1910). His most popular works are his five Pomp and Circumstance marches (1901–30), the first of which is the famous Land of Hope and Glory. Elgar's style, influenced by German romanticism, is marked by a majestic grandeur and sure musical craftsmanship. He was knighted in 1904 and became Master of the King's Music in 1924.

See selected letters ed. by P. M. Young (1965); biographies by P. M Young (1955), J. F. Porte (1921, repr. 1970), R. Burley and F. C. Carruthers (1972), M. Kennedy (2004), and D. McVeagh (2007).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Elgar, O.M.: A Study of a Musician
Percy M. Young.
Collins, 1955
The Symphony: A Listener's Guide
Michael Steinberg.
Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Edward Elgar" begins on p. 155
A Musical Companion: A Guide to the Understanding and Enjoyment of Music
John Erskine.
Alfred A. Knopf, 1935
Librarian’s tip: "Elgar" begins on p. 332, "Pioneers: Elgar and Vaughan Williams" begins on p. 405
Composers on Composers
John L. Holmes.
Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)" begins on p. 60
The Concerto
Ralph Hill.
Penguin Books, 1952
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 16 "Edward Elgar (1857-1934)"
Man and His Music: The Story of Musical Experience in the West
Alec Harman; Anthony Milner; Wilfrid Mellers.
Oxford University Press, 1962
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Elgar and Vaughan Williams"
Musical Trends in the 20th Century
Norman Demuth.
Rockliff Publishing, 1975
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Nine "The English Panorama"
Conductors on Composers
John L. Holmes.
Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)" begins on p. 75
Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations
David Ewen; David Ewen.
H. W. Wilson, 1934
Librarian’s tip: "Sir Edward Elgar, 1857-1934" begins on p. 68
A History of Music in England
Ernest Walker.
Clarendon Press, 1952 (3rd Rev. edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XI "The English Renaissance"
Stories of Symphonic Music: A Guide to the Meaning of Important Symphonies, Overtures, and Tone-Poems from Beethoven to Debussy
Lawrence Gilman.
Garden City Publishing, 1937
Librarian’s tip: "Elgar" begins on p. 95
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