Edward Elgar

~ Person

Legal name: Edward William Elgar


Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. He also composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924.

Although Elgar is often regarded as a typically English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe. He felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially. In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer; in Protestant Britain, his Roman Catholicism was regarded with suspicion in some quarters; and in the class-conscious society of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he was acutely sensitive about his humble origins even after he achieved recognition. He nevertheless married the daughter of a senior British army officer. She inspired him both musically and socially, but he struggled to achieve success until his forties, when after a series of moderately successful works his Enigma Variations (1899) became immediately popular in Britain and overseas. He followed the Variations with a choral work, The Dream of Gerontius (1900), based on a Roman Catholic text that caused some disquiet in the Anglican establishment in Britain, but it became, and has remained, a core repertory work in Britain and elsewhere. His later full-length religious choral works were well received but have not entered the regular repertory.

In his fifties, Elgar composed a symphony and a violin concerto that were immensely successful. His second symphony and his cello concerto did not gain immediate public popularity and took many years to achieve a regular place in the concert repertory of British orchestras. Elgar's music came, in his later years, to be seen as appealing chiefly to British audiences. His stock remained low for a generation after his death. It began to revive significantly in the 1960s, helped by new recordings of his works. Some of his works have, in recent years, been taken up again internationally, but the music remains more played in Britain than elsewhere.

Elgar has been described as the first composer to take the gramophone seriously. Between 1914 and 1925, he conducted a series of acoustic recordings of his works. The introduction of the microphone in 1925 made far more accurate sound reproduction possible, and Elgar made new recordings of most of his major orchestral works and excerpts from The Dream of Gerontius.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1957 Elgar Centenary 1857-1957 Sir Edward Elgar 1
1965 Cello Concerto / Sea Pictures Elgar; Jacqueline du Pré, Sir John Barbirolli, Dame Janet Baker, London Symphony Orchestra 7
1977 Violin Concerto Elgar; Kyung Wha Chung, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti 2
1978 Holst: The Planets / Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance Marches Holst, Elgar; Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Sir Neville Marriner 6
1980 Symphony no. 1 Elgar; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley 1
1981 Symphony no. 2 Elgar; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley 2
1982 Violin Concerto (Chicago Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Daniel Barenboim, violin: Itzhak Perlman) Sir Edward Elgar 2
1983 Enigma Variations / Introduction & Allegro for Strings / Serenade for Strings Elgar; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley 4 1
1984 Salut d’amour & Other Elgar Favourites Sir Edward Elgar; Nigel Kennedy 3
1984 Violin Concerto Elgar; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley, Nigel Kennedy 1
1985 Cello Concertos Elgar, Walton; Yo‐Yo Ma, London Symphony Orchestra, André Previn 2
1986 Cello Concerto, op. 85 / Enigma Variations Sir Edward Elgar; Julian Lloyd Webber, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin 1
1986 Sullivan: Cello Concerto in D / Herbert: Cello Concerto no. 2 / Elgar: Romance Sullivan, Herbert, Elgar; Julian Lloyd Webber, London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Charles Mackerras 1
1986 Symphony No. 1 (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra feat. conductor: André Previn) Sir Edward Elgar 1
1987 Cello Concerto in E minor / In the South, Concert Overture / Elegy for Strings (London Philharmonic Orchestra feat. conductor: Norman Del Mar, cello: Robert Cohen) Sir Edward Elgar 1
1987 Con Amore Brahms, Kreisler, Elgar; Kyung Wha Chung 2
1988 "Enigma" Variations / Coronation March / Imperial March / Pomp and Circumstance Marches Elgar; London Symphony Orchestra, Barry Tuckwell 1
1988 Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius / Parry: Blest Pair of Sirens / Parry: I Was Glad Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Hubert Parry; Felicity Palmer, Arthur Davies, Gwynne Howell, London Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Chorus, Richard Hickox 1
1988 Orchestral Favourites, Volume 7: Pomp and Circumstance Marches / The Wand of Youth / Bavarian Dances Elgar; English String Orchestra, William Boughton 2
1988 Songs Sir Edward Elgar, Frederick Delius; Benjamin Luxon, David Willison 1
1989 English Festival Elgar, Delius; CSR Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), Adrian Leaper 2
1989 Enigma Variations / Cockaigne Overture Elgar; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, David Zinman 1
1989 Symphony No. 2 / Serenade op. 20 Elgar; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin 2
1990 Enigma Variations / Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5 Elgar; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, André Previn 1
1990 Enigma Variations / Pomp and Circumstance Sir Edward Elgar; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Norman Del Mar 1
1990 Enigma Variations / Pomp And Circumstance Marches 1-5 Sir Edward Elgar, Scottish National Orchestra, Sir Alexander Gibson 2
1991 Violin Concerto / Cockaigne Elgar; Dong-Suk Kang, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Adrian Leaper 1
1991 Elgar: Cello Concerto / Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations Elgar, Tchaikovsky; Philharmonia Orchestra, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Mischa Maisky 1
1991 Enigma Variations Sir Edward Elgar; London Philharmonic, Sir Adrian Boult 1
1991 Enigma Variations / Falstaff Sir Edward Elgar; Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Charles Dutoit 1
1991 Enigma Variations / Serenade for Strings / In the South Sir Edward Elgar; Philharmonia Orchestra, Giuseppe Sinopoli 1
1991 Enigma Variations / Viola Concerto (arr. Tertis) Sir Edward Elgar; Andrew Litton, Mark Braunstein, Richard Stamp 1
1991 Symphony no. 1 / Pomp and Circumstance Marches 1, 3 & 4 Elgar; BBC Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Davis 1
1991 Symphony No.1 (James Judd, Halle Orchestra) Sir Edward Elgar 1
1991 Symphony No.1 / Cockaigne Overture Elgar; London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Charles Mackerras 1
1992 Cello Concertos Antonín Dvořák, Sir Edward Elgar; Maria Kliegel, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Halász 1
1992 Symphony no. 1 / Cockaigne Overture Sir Edward Elgar; Hallé Orchestra, James Loughran, Philharmonia Orchestra, Owain Arwel Hughes 1
1992 Enigma Variations / Pomp and Circumstance / Crown of India Suite Sir Edward Elgar; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim 1
1992 Music for Strings Elgar, Grieg, Delius, Warlock, Holst; Scottish Ensemble, Jonathan Rees 1
1992 Piano Quintet in A Minor op. 84 / String Quartet in E Minor op. 83 Sir Edward Elgar; The Medici Quartet, John Bingham 2
1992 Sea Pictures / The Music Makers Sir Edward Elgar; Linda Finnie, London Philharmonic Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bryden Thomson 1
1992 String Quartet / Piano Quintet Sir Edward Elgar; Mistry Quartet, David Owen Norris 1
1992 Symphony no. 1 / Pomp and Circumstance Marches nos. 1 and 2 Sir Edward Elgar 1
1993 Piano Quintet & Violin Sonata (The Nash Ensemble) Sir Edward Elgar 2
1993 Cello Concerto / Enigma Variations Sir Edward Elgar; Robert Cohen, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Mackerras 1
1993 Cello Concerto / The Dream of Gerontius Sir Edward Elgar; Paul Tortelier, Heddle Nash, Gladys Ripley, Dennis Noble, Norman Walker, Sir Malcolm Sargent 1
1993 Elgar: String Quartet / Bridge: Three Idylls / Walton: String Quartet Elgar, Bridge, Walton; The Coull Quartet 5 2
1993 Serenades Tchaikovsky, Wolf, Barber, Elgar; Berliner Philharmoniker, Semyon Bychkov 1
1993 The Dream of Gerontius Elgar; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley 1
1994 Symphony No. 1 / Imperial March Elgar; BBC Philharmonic, George Hurst 1

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