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: Symphony No. 1, Cockaigne / Oramo,  Stockholm Philharmonic
Release Date: 08/12/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1939   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar: The Apostles / Hickox, London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
Release Date: 08/26/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 24149   Number of Discs: 2
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Elgar: Sea Pictures;  Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder;  Etc
Release Date: 04/04/1994   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 530   Number of Discs: 1
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Through Gold And Silver Clouds - Delius, Elgar, Etc
Release Date: 07/24/2007   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1589   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar: Symphony No 2; Wagner: Tannhauser Overture & Venusburg Music / Boult
Release Date: 09/24/2013   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: 5106   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Pomp and Circumstance, Op. 39 no 1

Browse 1-25 of 132 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4763772 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jeremiah Clarke,  Georges Bizet,  Hector Berlioz,  Ron Goodwin  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Northey,  John Lanchbery,  Jorge Mester,  David Measham  ... 
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  • 2.
    Beruhmte Marsche
    Label: Da Capo   Catalog: 277 Release Date: 05/20/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Richard Wagner,  Josef Schrammel,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Matthias G. Kendlinger
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  • 3.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Orchestral Organ Classics
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 5048 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Performer:  Malcolm Archer,  Ian Tracey,  Adrian Partington,  Thomas Murray  ... 
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  • 5.
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 1139364 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone,  John T. Williams,  Howard Shore,  Vangelis  ... 
    Performer:  Diana Doherty,  Mark Ayres,  Sally Herbert,  Roger Woodward  ... 
    Conductor:  Mark Summerbell,  Zubin Mehta,  Nic Raine,  Paul Bateman  ... 
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  • 6.
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 3710032 Release Date: 05/27/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  George Gershwin,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
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  • 7.
    Carl Conducts... Classical Festival Favourites
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Jean Sibelius,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 8.
    Sir Malcolm Sargent: An Evening At The Proms
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2393 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Recorded Sound,  Arthur Sullivan,  Antonín Dvorák,  Emmanuel Chabrier  ... 
    Performer:  Shura Cherkassky,  Dame Joan Hammond
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
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  • 9.
    Spirit Of England
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1272 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Eric Coates,  Ronald Binge  ... 
    Performer:  Jon Banks,  Martin Souter
    Conductor:  Carl Davis,  Guy Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guards Division Massed Bands
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  • 10.
    The Art Of Sir Georg Solti
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 1037609 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Zoltán Kodály,  Leó Weiner,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alexandru Agache,  Tamás Daróczy,  Julia Varády,  Iris Vermillion  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Hungarian Radio/TV Chorus,  Budapest Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    Label: Christophorus   Catalog: 1832 Release Date: 03/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Joachim Schäfer,  Judit Izsak,  Arndt Netzel,  Gesine Forberger  ... 
    Conductor:  Anton Popovic
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trompetenensemble Joachim Schäfer,  Camerata Instrumentale Berlin
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  • 12.
    100 Best Organ Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 332452 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolas Kynaston,  Nicholas Kynaston,  Noel Rawsthorne,  Lionel Rogg  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Menuhin Festival Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservato  ... 
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  • 13.
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5412002 Release Date: 02/25/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Eric Coates,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Kathryn Stott,  Michael Boriskin,  Todd Levy  ... 
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Eugene Ormandy,  Leonard Slatkin,  John Pritchard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players
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  • 14.
    Classics For A Summer Evening From Leeds Castle / Carl Davis
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 51302 Release Date: 11/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jeremiah Clarke,  George Frideric Handel,  Léo Delibes,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Janice Watson,  Ruby Philogene
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  King's Division Normandy Band,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
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  • 15.
    Eugene Ormandy Conducts 20th Century Classics
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5417202 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Van Cliburn,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mendelssohn Club Chorus Philadelphia,  Rutgers University Chorus
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  • 16.
    100 Famous Marches
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: 1072 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Julius Fucik,  Charles Beisterling,  Harry L. Alford,  Roland Forrest Seitz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  "President's Own" United States Marine Band,  United States Army Band,  United States Navy Band  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 17.
    Elgar: Enigma Variations; Cello Concerto
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001739802 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Mischa Maisky
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    CD: $8.99
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  • 18.
    Essential British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40306 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Susan Graham,  Maurice André,  Jane Parker-Smith  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Alexander Briger,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Emmanuelle Haïm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert D'Astrée,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
    CD: $12.99
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  • 19.
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 241 Release Date: 10/02/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kenneth Alford,  Alfredo Javaloyes,  Gustave Louis Ganne,  Herman Starke  ... 
    Conductor:  C.J. Taylor
    CD: $12.49
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  • 20.
    Classics For Your Wedding
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 623247 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Johann Pachelbel,  César Franck,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini,  David [Pipe Organ] Briggs,  Katia Labèque,  Marielle Labèque  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Andrew Parrott,  Stephen Cleobury,  Paavo Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Ensemble Orchestral de Paris,  Les Arts Florissants  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 63 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Eric Coates,  Fritz Spiegl  ... 
    Conductor:  David Parry
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Barry Wordsworth Conducts Elgar
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Catalog: 35 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    100 Best British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27315 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Thomas Tallis,  John Goss,  Charles Villiers Stanford  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Hugh Bean,  Gerald Moore,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 24.
    50 Best British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27359 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Thomas Tallis,  John Goss,  Charles Villiers Stanford  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Williamson,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Peter Stevens  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Wallace Collection (Brass Ensemble)
    CD: $11.99
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  • 25.
    Elgar Conducts Elgar: The Complete Recordings 1914-1925
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1257 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Frederick Stewart,  Harry Barratt,  Frederick Henry,  Charles Mott  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Albert Hall Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $44.49
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