Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes: Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers

By John N. Burk; Philip Hale | Go to book overview
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EDWARD WILLIAM
ELGAR

(Born at Broadheath, near Worcester, England, June 2, 1857;
died at
Worcester, February 23, 1934)

NEARLY ONE HUNDRED years ago, William Hazlitt wrote a few words concerning a speech on Indian affairs by the Marquis Wellesley, the eldest brother of the Duke of Wellington. These words may be justly applied to Sir Edward Elgar, composer of "The Dream of Gerontius", two symphonies, the popular march Pomp and Circumstance, and other works familiar to our concert audiences.

"Seeming to utter volumes in every word, and yet saying nothing; retaining the same unabated vehemence of voice and action without anything to excite it; still keeping alive the promise and the expectation of genius without once satisfying it—soaring into mediocrity with adventurous enthusiasm, harrowed up by some plain matter of fact, writhing with agony under a truism, and launching a commonplace with all the fury of a thunderbolt."


VARIATIONS ON AN ORIGINAL THEME,
"ENIGMA," OP. 36
Theme: Andante.
Variations.
i. "C.A.E." L'istesso tempo
ii. "H.D.S.-P." Allegro
iii. "R.B.T." Allegretto
iv. "W.M.B." Allegro di molto

-[135]-

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