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© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Edward Elgar: Selected full-text books and articles

The Symphony: A Listener's Guide By 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 By 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 By John L. Holmes Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)" begins on p. 60
The Concerto By 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 By 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 By Norman Demuth Rockliff Publishing, 1975
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Nine "The English Panorama"
Conductors on Composers By 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 By 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 By Ernest Walker Clarendon Press, 1952 (3rd Rev. edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XI "The English Renaissance"
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