Edward Elgar played an enormous role in the transition between
the romantic era and that of modern music. He was considered one
the greatest composers that England ever produced and his song-like
melodies make his pieces the very delightful. His pieces would go
on to become part of the standard repertoire for orchestras as well
as cellists. His famous Cello Concerto would become the part of the
standard repertoire for any professional cellist for its elegance
Edward Elgar was born on June 2nd, 1857 in a beautiful part of the English countryside. He grew up in Worchester where he had unlimited access to music scores and instruments, being the son a music shop owner. His only formal musical education was the violin lessons he received in his hometown. At the age of fifteen he began to work as a solicitor, but quickly quit this job and became a freelance musician. He learned to play many instruments because of the great availability and in 1882 he took his first job as a violinist in the Birmingham orchestra. He then became an organist a local church.
In 1889, he married into a wealthy family. His wife, Alice Roberts, provided him with the financial support he needed to become a successful composer as well as provide for his family. They moved to London in hopes of boosting his career. This did not work out for him, and they returned to Worcestershire. He took on pupils, but he was only happy when he was composing.
Finally in the 1890's his career began to look up when his Enigma Variations brought him national prominence. Each movement portrayed a different friend of his, and it truly showed his ability to characterize different moods. The mystery is in the theme that he based the song on. There is still debate today over what theme that was.
In 1900, he finished a great piece known as The Dream of
Gerontius. Although it initially performed horribly, it soon became
a very popular piece. Finally his reputation was cemented with the
release of Pomp and Circumstance Marches. These marches were very
ceremonious and have become widely used at graduation cermonies.
Elgar then went on to compose an expressive Violin Concerto and his
final piece, his Cello Concerto. After his wife died in 1920, he
did not produce anything substantial for the next fourteen years of
his life. Nonetheless, his reputation was already fastened in the
minds of the English. Since his death in 1934, he has remained one
of England's greatest composers.
His Famous Compositions
His notable pieces include Enigma Variations, his Cello
Concerto, Symphonies 1 and 2, Cockaigne, Introduction and Allegro
and his Violin Concerto. He also wrote a Piano Quintet, op. 84, and a
String Quartet, op.
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