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Edward Elgar (6/02/1857 - 2/23/1934)

Edward Elgar was arguably the leading English composer of his generation and a significant figure among late-Romantic European musicians. Born in the west of England in 1857, the son of a piano tuner and owner of a music shop, he earned his earlier living as an organist, violinist and teacher in his own part of the country. After his marriage in 1889 he found himself able to move to London as a composer, but success only came later, after his return to the West Country, confirmed by the ‘Enigma’ Variations, first performed in London in 1899. Knighted in 1904, he wrote relatively little after the death of his wife in 1920.

Choral Music

Elgar wrote a number of oratorios and works for chorus and orchestra. These include The Apostles, The Kingdom, and the cantata Caractacus. The most significant of all is The Dream of Gerontius, with words by Cardinal Newman, a remarkable study of a man on his deathbed. Sea Pictures, an anthology of songs for contralto and orchestra with texts related to the sea, was written in 1899 and won contemporary success. His earlier compositions include music for the Catholic church in Worcester, where he followed his father as organist.

Orchestral Music



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