Edward Elgar was a nineteenth/twentieth century classical composer
When and Where was He Born?
2nd June 1857. Lower Broadheath, Worcestershire, England.
Edward Elgar was the son of an organist and music seller.
Left the local school at Age 15. Self taught as a composer.
Chronology/Biography of Edward Elgar:
1880’s: Elgar taught the violin, played the organ at St. George’s Catholic Church in Worcester and composed music for local musical organisations such as the Worcester Glee Club and the County Asylum Band.
1898: With works such as the Cantata “Caractacus”, Edward Elgar’s reputation began to spread beyond the borders of Worcestershire. This work was suggested to him by his mother and is based on events that took place in Roman times at British Camp in the Malvern Hills.
1899: His first big hit with the public was the “Variations on an Original Theme” often known as the Enigma variations which were short biographical sketches of all his friends and family. The most famous of all was “Nimrod” about his best friend the publisher August Jaeger.
1900: The Oratorio “The “Dream of Gerontius” was first performed in Birmingham Town Hall. It is based on Cardinal Newman’s Poem about a soul’s journey, but due to inadequate rehearsals it was not received well by the public.
1901: Elgar was very depressed and continued writing and premiered the first of his “Pomp and Circumstance” Marches, the first of which was to become better known as the music for “Land of Hope and Glory”.
1904: An all Elgar festival was held at Covent Garden and it was now obvious that he had arrived. (July) He was Knighted by King Edward the Seventh.
1907: He plans the “First Symphony” whilst traveling in Rome.
1908: Symphony No 1″ first performed in Manchester.
1909: Traveling in Venice Elgar has ideas for the “Second Symphony”.
1911: “The “Violin Concerto” was dedicated to Fritz Kreisler who gave the first performance. The Second Symphony” is dedicated to the recently deceased King Edward the Seventh.
1914: Elgar was deeply saddened by the First World War and produced little work at this time except for a children’s play called “Starlight Express”.
1920: After the death of his wife, who had been the driving force behind his success, he became a virtual recluse.
1924: Edward Elgar made Master of the Kings Musick.
1928: Made Knight Commander of the Victorian Order. He now began composing again in earnest working on plans for an opera “The Spanish Lady” and a third symphony.
1931: Made a Baronet.
1933: Edward Elgar flew to Paris to conduct his “Violin Concerto” with Yehudi Menuhin as soloist. Visited Delius whilst in France. Musical
1896: “King Olaf”. “Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands”.
1897: “The Imperial March”.
1899: “Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma)”.
1899: “Sea Pictures”.
1900: “The Dream of Gerontius”.
1901: “Cockaigne (In London Town)”. “Pomp and Circumstance Marches No’s 1 and 2”.
1903: “The Apostles”.
1904: “In the South”.
1905: “Introduction and Allegro for Strings”.
1906: “The Kingdom”.
1908: Symphony No 1 in A Flat”.
1910: “Violin Concerto in B Minor”.
1911: “Symphony No 2 in E Flat”.
1912: “The Music Makers”.
1915: “The Starlight Express”. “The Spirit of England”,
1917: “The Sanguine Fan”.
1918: “Violin Sonata”.
1919: “String Quartet”. “Piano Quintet in A Minor”. “Cello Concerto in E Minor”.
1889 to Caroline Alice Roberts one of his music pupils and daughter of Major-General Sir Henry Roberts. (died 1920).
When and Where did he Die?
23rd February 1934, Marl Bank, Worcester, Worcestershire, England of a malignant tumour pressing on the sciatic nerve.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
St. Wulstan’s Church, Little Malvern, England beside his wife.
Places of Interest:
Town Hall, scene of first performances of works such as the “Dream of Gerontius” at the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival.
Birthplace, Crown East Lane, Lower Broadheath, Worcester, WR2 6RH.
Statue to him near his old music shop in Worcester.
Elgar was a keen cyclist and there is a plaque to this effect in Worcester High Street.(copyright Anthony Blagg)
Forli House, Alexandra Road, Malvern Link rented by the Elgars. Birchwood Lodge, rented by the Elgars as an escape from 1893 to 1903, Malvern.
Craeg Lea, Malvern Wells where he lived from 1899 to 1904.