88 Facts About Edward Elgar


Edward Elgar composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs.

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Edward Elgar felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially.

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Edward Elgar nevertheless married the daughter of a senior British Army officer.

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Edward Elgar's 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 became immediately popular in Britain and overseas.

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Edward Elgar followed the Variations with a choral work, The Dream of Gerontius, 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.

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Edward Elgar's music came, in his later years, to be seen as appealing chiefly to British audiences.

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Edward Elgar's stock remained low for a generation after his death.

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Edward Elgar has been described as the first composer to take the gramophone seriously.

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The introduction of the moving-coil microphone in 1923 made far more accurate sound reproduction possible, and Edward Elgar made new recordings of most of his major orchestral works and excerpts from The Dream of Gerontius.

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Edward Elgar was born in the small village of Lower Broadheath, outside Worcester, England, on 2 June 1857.

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Ann Elgar had converted to Roman Catholicism shortly before Edward's birth, and he was baptised and brought up as a Roman Catholic, to the disapproval of his father.

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William Edward Elgar was a violinist of professional standard and held the post of organist of St George's Roman Catholic Church, Worcester, from 1846 to 1885.

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Edward Elgar's mother was interested in the arts and encouraged his musical development.

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Edward Elgar inherited from her a discerning taste for literature and a passionate love of the countryside.

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Edward Elgar began composing at an early age; for a play written and acted by the Elgar children when he was about ten, he wrote music that forty years later he rearranged with only minor changes and orchestrated as the suites titled The Wand of Youth.

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Until he was fifteen, Edward Elgar received a general education at Littleton House school, near Worcester.

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Edward Elgar later said that he had been most helped by Hubert Parry's articles in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

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Edward Elgar began to learn German, in the hope of going to the Leipzig Conservatory for further musical studies, but his father could not afford to send him.

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Edward Elgar did not find an office career congenial, and for fulfilment he turned not only to music but to literature, becoming a voracious reader.

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Edward Elgar was an active member of the Worcester Glee club, along with his father, and he accompanied singers, played the violin, composed and arranged works, and conducted for the first time.

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Pollitzer believed that, as a violinist, Edward Elgar had the potential to be one of the leading soloists in the country, but Edward Elgar himself, having heard leading virtuosi at London concerts, felt his own violin playing lacked a full enough tone, and he abandoned his ambitions to be a soloist.

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Edward Elgar coached the players and wrote and arranged their music, including quadrilles and polkas, for the unusual combination of instruments.

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Edward Elgar acquired a practical knowledge of the capabilities of these different instruments.

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Edward Elgar thereby got to know intimately the tone colour, the ins and outs of these and many other instruments.

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Edward Elgar played in the violins at the Worcester and Birmingham Festivals, and one great experience was to play Dvorak's Symphony No 6 and Stabat Mater under the composer's baton.

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Edward Elgar regularly played the bassoon in a wind quintet, alongside his brother Frank, an oboist .

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Edward Elgar arranged numerous pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, and others for the quintet, honing his arranging and compositional skills.

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Edward Elgar heard Saint-Saens play the organ at the Madeleine and attended concerts by first-rate orchestras.

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In 1882, seeking more professional orchestral experience, Edward Elgar was employed as a violinist in Birmingham in William Stockley's Orchestra, for whom he played every concert for the next seven years and where he later said he "learned all the music I know".

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When Edward Elgar was 29, he took on a new pupil, Caroline Alice Roberts, known as Alice, daughter of the late Major-General Sir Henry Roberts, and published author of verse and prose fiction.

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Edward Elgar's did her best to gain him the attention of influential society, though with limited success.

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Edward Elgar took full advantage of the opportunity to hear unfamiliar music.

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Edward Elgar took every chance to do so at the Crystal Palace concerts.

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Edward Elgar was of enough consequence locally to recommend the young composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to the Three Choirs Festival for a concert piece, which helped establish the younger man's career.

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Edward Elgar was catching the attention of prominent critics, but their reviews were polite rather than enthusiastic.

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At the age of forty-two, Edward Elgar produced the Enigma Variations, which were premiered in London under the baton of the eminent German conductor Hans Richter.

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Later commentators have observed that although Edward Elgar is today regarded as a characteristically English composer, his orchestral music and this work in particular share much with the Central European tradition typified at the time by the work of Richard Strauss.

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Edward Elgar stands on the shoulders of Berlioz, Wagner, and Liszt, from whose influences he has freed himself until he has become an important individuality.

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Edward Elgar is one of the leaders of musical art of modern times.

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Edward Elgar is probably best known for the first of the five Pomp and Circumstance Marches, which were composed between 1901 and 1930.

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The publishers of the score recognised the potential of the vocal piece, "Land of Hope and Glory", and asked Benson and Edward Elgar to make a further revision for publication as a separate song.

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In March 1904 a three-day festival of Edward Elgar's works was presented at Covent Garden, an honour never before given to any English composer.

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The final concert of the festival, conducted by Edward Elgar, was primarily orchestral, apart for an excerpt from Caractacus and the complete Sea Pictures .

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Edward Elgar made four visits to the US, including one conducting tour, and earned considerable fees from the performance of his music.

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Edward Elgar had accepted the post reluctantly, feeling that a composer should not head a school of music.

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Edward Elgar's new life as a celebrity was a mixed blessing to the highly strung Elgar, as it interrupted his privacy, and he often was in ill-health.

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Edward Elgar refused, but would have collaborated with Bernard Shaw had Shaw been willing.

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Edward Elgar paid three visits to the USA between 1905 and 1911.

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Edward Elgar's first was to conduct his music and to accept a doctorate from Yale University.

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Edward Elgar's First Symphony was a national and international triumph.

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In June 1911, as part of the celebrations surrounding the coronation of King George V, Edward Elgar was appointed to the Order of Merit, an honour limited to twenty-four holders at any time.

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When World War I broke out, Edward Elgar was horrified at the prospect of the carnage, but his patriotic feelings were nonetheless aroused.

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Edward Elgar composed "A Song for Soldiers", which he later withdrew.

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Edward Elgar signed up as a special constable in the local police and later joined the Hampstead Volunteer Reserve of the army.

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Edward Elgar composed patriotic works, Carillon, a recitation for speaker and orchestra in honour of Belgium, and Polonia, an orchestral piece in honour of Poland.

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Land of Hope and Glory, already popular, became still more so, and Edward Elgar wished in vain to have new, less nationalistic, words sung to the tune.

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Edward Elgar conducted a recording of the work for the Gramophone Company.

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Edward Elgar's wife thought it best for him to move to the countryside, and she rented "Brinkwells", a house near Fittleworth in Sussex, from the painter Rex Vicat Cole.

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Alice Edward Elgar wrote with enthusiasm about the reception of the symphony, but this was one of the last times she heard Edward Elgar's music played in public.

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Edward Elgar even patented the "Elgar Sulphuretted Hydrogen Apparatus" in 1908.

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Edward Elgar enjoyed football, supporting Wolverhampton Wanderers F C, for whom he composed an anthem, "Edward Elgar Banged the Leather for Goal", and in his later years he frequently attended horseraces.

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Edward Elgar made large-scale symphonic arrangements of works by Bach and Handel and wrote his Empire March and eight songs Pageant of Empire for the 1924 British Empire Exhibition.

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Edward Elgar was the first composer to take full advantage of this technological advance.

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Later in the series of recordings, Edward Elgar conducted two newly founded orchestras, Boult's BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Thomas Beecham's London Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Edward Elgar's recordings were released on 78-rpm discs by both HMV and RCA Victor.

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In November 1931, Edward Elgar was filmed by Pathe for a newsreel depicting a recording session of Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 at the opening of EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London.

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Late piece of Edward Elgar's, the Nursery Suite, was an early example of a studio premiere: its first performance was in the Abbey Road studios.

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Edward Elgar flew to Paris in 1933 to conduct the Violin Concerto for Menuhin.

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Edward Elgar was sought out by younger musicians such as Adrian Boult, Malcolm Sargent and John Barbirolli, who championed his music when it was out of fashion.

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Edward Elgar began work on an opera, The Spanish Lady, and accepted a commission from the BBC to compose a Third Symphony.

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Edward Elgar was contemptuous of folk music and had little interest in or respect for the early English composers, calling William Byrd and his contemporaries "museum pieces".

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Edward Elgar began composing when still a child, and all his life he drew on his early sketchbooks for themes and inspiration.

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Reed wrote, "Edward Elgar's genius rose to its greatest height in his orchestral works" and quoted the composer as saying that, even in his oratorios, the orchestral part is the most important.

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Edward Elgar wrote it after setting aside an early attempt to compose a symphony.

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The Violin Concerto, composed in 1909 as Edward Elgar reached the height of his popularity, and written for the instrument dearest to his heart, is lyrical throughout and rhapsodical and brilliant by turns.

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Edward Elgar himself thought Falstaff the highest point of his purely orchestral work.

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Edward Elgar made arrangements of works by Bach, Handel and Chopin, in distinctively Elgarian orchestration, and turned his youthful notebooks to use for the Nursery Suite .

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Edward Elgar left the opening of the symphony complete in full score, and those pages, along with others, show Edward Elgar's orchestration changed markedly from the richness of his pre-war work.

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Views of Edward Elgar's stature have varied in the decades since his music came to prominence at the beginning of the twentieth century.

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Edward Elgar's music was identified in the public mind with the Edwardian era, and after the First World War he no longer seemed a progressive or modern composer.

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In 1966 the critic Frank Howes wrote that Edward Elgar reflected the last blaze of opulence, expansiveness and full-blooded life, before World War I swept so much away.

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Cox noted that Edward Elgar disliked folk-songs and never used them in his works, opting for an idiom that was essentially German, leavened by a lightness derived from French composers including Berlioz and Gounod.

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Edward Elgar was knighted in 1904, and in 1911 he was appointed a member of the Order of Merit.

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Between 1900 and 1931, Edward Elgar received honorary degrees from the Universities of Cambridge, Durham, Leeds, Oxford, Yale, Aberdeen, Western Pennsylvania, Birmingham and London.

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Edward Elgar was offered, but declined, the office of Mayor of Hereford when he lived in the city in 1905.

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House in Lower Broadheath where Edward Elgar was born is the Edward Elgar Birthplace Museum, devoted to his life and work.

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The Edward Elgar Society dedicated to the composer and his works was formed in 1951.

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From 2007 the Edward Elgar notes were phased out, ceasing to be legal tender on 30 June 2010.

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