Sir Edward Elgar
Elgar was born at Broadheath, near Worcester, England, June 2, 1857.
His father was an organist, and also kept a music store in Worcester.
Elgar’s training was almost entirely along self help lines. He played the organ a little, studied the violin, and several wind instruments, helped at choral societies, conducted a band at a lunatic asylum, and wrote music for every combination of instruments he could think of. He once wrote a whole symphony in the style of Mozart by way of an exercise.
In 1889 he married, and went to London. London, however, was not ready for him, and a year later he was glad to return home and become a hum drum organist. Nevertheless his compositions began to attract attention at the Choral Festivals, “The Saga of King Olaf”, “The Black Knight”, “Banner of St. George”, and other works all fore shadowed the success which was later to be achieved. The “Enigma” variations for orchestra, given by the Halle Orchestra under the veteran Dr. Hans Richter, was the first work to attract continental attention.
In 1900 came “The Dream of Gerontius”, and this remarkable composition firmly established Elgar’s reputation. “The Apostles” followed, and “The Kingdom”, both part of an oratorical Trilogy, which is not yet complete. The recent production of his first symphony, has once more roused universal attention.
Elgar is without doubt the foremost English composer since Purcell.