Elgar, O.M.: A Study of a Musician

By Percy M. Young | Go to book overview

PREFACE

IN THE roll of great composers stand the names of three or four Englishmen. Native scholars and critics will continue to argue the relative merits of those few of our race who have by their genius enriched the music of the world; but Elgar, beyond the reach of critics and scholiasts, will remain firm in universal respect. He it was who, in the depressed days of English music, conquered a tyranny, and released us from the ignominy of being a mere colony of German pedants. To the glory of Germany, however, let it be said that there Elgar's greatness was recognised before we ourselves were quite alive to it.

Elgar wrote great works. He also wrote works which, though outside the range of accepted greatness, have compelled the attention and affection of a nation. It must not be overlooked that it requires rather more than talent to achieve what Chesterton described as "tremendous trifles."

A man and his music are inseparable. Elgar's music is as it is because of his upbringing, his environment, his inherited traits of character, his acquired opinions and prejudices. This study is an endeavour to show both the man and the musician.

In the chapters which deal with the music I have not occupied space with detailed technical analysis, which, to my mind, too often makes for very dull reading, and has, in any case, been zealously done by other hands. I have, however, tried to show the progress of the composer as revealed in his manuscripts, and the relationship between the ideas expressed in the music and those which were shown otherwise. On the other hand it has not been forgotten that music (which may be inspired by external events or ideas) has its own life and rules of conduct. In order to maintain the continuity of the text the music examples are placed together at the

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Elgar, O.M.: A Study of a Musician
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 9
  • Illustrations 11
  • Preface 13
  • Part One 17
  • Chapter I - Greenings and Elgars 19
  • Chapter II - Edward 30
  • Chapter III - "Passed with Honours" 39
  • Chapter IV Mr. Elgar 51
  • Chapter V - "Splendid Saga-Ing" 66
  • Chapter VI - Dr. Elgar 78
  • Chapter VII - Sir Edward 96
  • Chapter VIII - The Professor 124
  • Chapter IX - Order of Merit 150
  • Chapter X - "The Spirit-Stirring Drum" 168
  • Chapter XI - ". . . and All Remote Peace" 189
  • Chapter XII - Master of the King's Musick 205
  • Chapter XIII - Three Score and Ten 225
  • Chapter XIV - Unfinished Symphony 239
  • Chapter XV - The Man Himself 248
  • Part Two 261
  • Chapter XVI - In Search of a Style 263
  • Chapter XVII - Music for Orchestra 273
  • Chapter XVIII - Music for Voices 294
  • Chapter XIX - Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 307
  • Chapter XX - The Symphonic Composer 326
  • Chapter XXI - Chamber Music 345
  • Chapter XXII - Incidental Music 354
  • Chapter XXIII - Unfinished Opera 360
  • Chapter XXIV - Epilogue 376
  • Musical Examples 383
  • Appendix - Inscriptions by Elgar in G. R. Sinclair's "Visitors' Book" 398
  • Index of Works 402
  • Bibliography 426
  • Sources & Acknowledgments 429
  • General Index 431
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