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Edward William Elgar

Edward William Elgar (1857-1934)


Born in Worcestershire, Elgar was almost entirely self-taught and harboured early ambitions to become a professional solo violinist before focusing on composition. Throughout his twenties and thirties his musical activities were largely confined to the Midlands, and it was not until the premiere of the Enigma Variations (1899) (a series of musical portraits depicting close friends and colleagues, based on an original theme) and the great oratorio The Dream of Gerontius (1900) that he achieved national recognition. He was knighted four years later, and his Land of Hope and Glory (originally a march without any words) has assumed the status of a second National Anthem.

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Further Reading: Elgar

 Recording of the Week, Martyn Brabbins conducts Elgar's Caractacus

Martyn Brabbins conducts the Huddersfield Choral Society and the Orchestra of Opera North in a stirring new recording of Elgar's rarely-performed cantata, Caractacus.

 Recording of the Week, Daniel Barenboim conducts Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius

Katherine listens to a blistering new performance of Elgar's religious masterwork, with Andrew Staples, Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Thomas Hampson.

Popular Works: Elgar

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Elgar: Enigma Variations
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Elgar: Caractacus
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