Sir Edward Elgar

Biography

Born: 1857   Died: 1934   Country: England   Period: Romantic
One of the pre-eminent musical figures of his time, Edward William Elgar (1857-1934) bridged the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as the finest English composer since the days of Handel and Purcell. Elgar's father owned a music shop and was a church organist who taught his son piano, organ, and violin; apart from this instruction, Elgar was basically self-taught as a musician. At the age of 16, the composer became a freelance musician and for Read more the remainder of his life never took a permanent job. He conducted locally, performed, taught, and composed, scraping by until his marriage to Caroline Alice Roberts, a published novelist of some wealth, in 1889.
Elgar had by this time achieved only limited recognition. He and his wife moved to London, where he scarcely fared better in advancing his career. They couple eventually retreated to Worcester, Elgar suffering from bitter self-doubt and depression. Alice stood by him the entire time, her unfailing confidence restoring his spirits. He was further buoyed by the success of his Imperial March, Op. 32, which earned him a publisher and a vital friendship with August Jaeger, his editor and confidant. In 1899, Elgar composed one of his best-known works, the "Enigma" Variations, Op. 36, which catapulted him to fame. The work is a cryptic tribute to Alice and to the many friends who stood behind the composer in the shaky early days of his career. German conductor Hans Richter proclaimed it a masterpiece, and his performances of the work in Britain and Germany established the composer's lasting success.
Elgar's most fruitful period was the first decade of the twentieth century, during which he wrote some of his noblest, most expressive music, including the Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55 (1907-1908), and the Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61 (1909-1910). His best-known works from this period, however, are the first four of his Pomp and Circumstance Marches (1901-1907); the first of these, subtitled "Land of Hope and Glory," became an unofficial second national anthem for the British Empire.
Elgar suffered a blow when Jaeger (the "Nimrod" of the "Enigma" Variations) died in 1909. The composer's productivity dropped, and the horrors of World War I deepened his melancholy outlook. His music became more intimate, even anguished; still, he wrote some of his best chamber music during this period, as well as the masterly Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85 (1919), whose deep feeling of sadness and impending loss surely relates to the final illness of his faithful Alice, who died in 1920.
For some time after that, he wrote little of significance but made a historic foray into the recording studios when new electrical recording processes were developed; the fortunate result was a number of masterly interpretations of his own orchestral music that have survived for posterity. In the early '30s, Elgar set to work on a third symphony, left unfinished at his death in 1934. The work was brought to a generally well-received realization by Anthony Payne in the late '90s and was subsequently recorded. Read less
Elgar: Enigma Variations; Vaughan Williams: The Wasps; Greensleeves
Release Date: 10/08/2013   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 1292   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar, Arnold, Simpson / Palmer, Orchestra of St Paul's
Release Date: 06/09/2015   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 145   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar: Enigma Variations; The Wasps; Vaughan Williams: Greensleeves / Stern, Kansas City Symphony
Release Date: 01/08/2013   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 129   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar: Piano Quintet, The Spanish Lady, La Capricieuse & Serenade
Release Date: 06/03/2016   Label: Musical Concepts  
Catalog: 1321   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar: Symphony No 1 / Sir Colin Davis, London So
Release Date: 04/09/2002   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 17   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 20

Browse 1-25 of 54 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Authentic / Schmidt, Gharabekyan, I Tempi
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: GEN 16418 Release Date: 07/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antoine de Lhoyer,  Antonín Dvorák,  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Stephan Schmidt
    Conductor:  Gevorg Gharabekyan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Tempi
    CD: $18.99
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  • 2.
    Elgar: Piano Quintet, The Spanish Lady, La Capricieuse & Serenade
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1321 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Xu Wei,  Pamela Nicholson
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Gavin Sutherland
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Schubert Ensemble,  Royal Ballet Sinfonia
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  • 3.
    Pinchas Zukerman: Elgar & Vaughan Williams
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002458202 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman
    CD: $17.99
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  • 4.
    Edward Elgar: Cello Concerto; Serenade For Strings; Cello Encores
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1265 Release Date: 07/24/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Paul Tortelier
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
    CD: $9.99
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  • 5.
    English Music For Strings
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1291 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Benjamin Britten,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Michael Tippett
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 6.
    Decca Sound  – Mono Years 1944 -1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormičre,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 7.
    And the Bridge Is Love / Julian Lloyd Webber, ECO
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573250 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  William Lloyd Webber,  Howard Goodall,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber
    Conductor:  Julian Lloyd Webber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending, Violin Concerto; Elgar / Waley-Cohen
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 399 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Tamsin Waley-Cohen
    Conductor:  David Curtis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Swan
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  • 9.
    The Argo Years / Marriner, Academy of St Martin in the Fields
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002081902 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli  ... 
    Performer:  Gwynne Howell,  Philip Langridge,  Anna Reynolds,  Elly Ameling  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
    Recommendation
    CD: $98.99
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  • 10.
    Castle Classics: Mozart, Haydn, Elgar
    Label: K & K Verlagsanstalt   Catalog: 114 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Sibylle Mahni,  Benedicte Elnes,  Moritz Haas,  Jannik Ness
    Conductor:  Gernot Schulz
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  • 11.
    The Great Recordings / Malcolm Sargent [18-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634121 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir William Walton,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Lewis,  John [baritone (50s)] Cameron,  James Milligan,  Duncan Robertson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Huddersfield Choral Society,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $69.99
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  • 12.
    English String Masterpieces
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1138 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Tippett,  Benjamin Britten,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Conductor:  Charles Groves
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 13.
    Elgar: Complete EMI Recordings / Sir Adrian Boult
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 35922 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 19
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Pablo Casals,  Paul Tortelier,  Ida Haendel  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Sir Philip Ledger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 14.
    Cello Concerto
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1150 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Paul Tortelier
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 15.
    English Music For Strings / Sir John Barbirolli
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 85187 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Frederick Delius
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Allegri String Quartet,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    English Classics
    Label: Hallé   Catalog: 7532 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  George Butterworth,  Frederick Delius,  Traditional,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Taylor,  Lyn Fletcher,  James Gilchrist
    Conductor:  Mark Elder,  John Wilson
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  • 17.
    Music For A Royal Celebration
    Label: Quartz Records   Catalog: 2041 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  George Frideric Handel,  Gerald Finzi,  Peter Maxwell Davies  ... 
    Performer:  Gordon Hunt,  Ekaterina Semenchuk,  Roger Judd
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green
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  • 18.
    Elgar, Delius, Warlock / Wordsworth, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28820 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Frederick Delius,  Sir William Walton,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 19.
    Elgar: The Violin Music / Bisengaliev, Frith, Bisengalieva, Ungrangsee
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572643-45 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Marat Bisengaliev,  Benjamin Frith
    Conductor:  Bundit Ungrangsee
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  West Kazakhstan Philharmonia Orchestra
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    CD: $39.99
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  • 20.
    Elgar: Pomp & Circumstance; Serenade For Strings / Ashkenazy, Sydney Symphony
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 30 Release Date: 05/10/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sydney Symphony Orchestra
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  • 21.
    British Composers: Barbirolli Conducts Elgar
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 95444 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Jacqueline Du Pré
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Allegri String Quartet,  Sinfonia of London  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 22.
    Lyrical Landscape
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 28172 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  M. Kutnowski,  Satoshi Ohmae,  Tylman Susato,  Johannes Crüger  ... 
    Performer:  Hiroshi Mochida
    Conductor:  Hiroshi Mochida
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syrinx Flute Ensemble
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  • 23.
    Elgar: Enigma Variations, In The South, Serenade / Andrew Davis
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 168 Release Date: 07/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 24.
    Rota: Concerto Per Archi;  Barber, Respighi, Elgar /I Musici
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 416356 Release Date: 01/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ottorino Respighi,  Nino Rota
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 25.
    Wilson: St. Kentigern Suite; Grieg, Et Al / Rees
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 91112 Release Date: 01/07/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Thomas Wilson,  Peter Warlock,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Conductor:  Jonathan Rees
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Ensemble
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