Elgar, Sir Edward William

Elgar, Sir Edward William ĕlˈgär [key], 1857–1934, English composer. He received his training from his father, who was an organist, music seller, and amateur violinist. In 1885 he succeeded his father as organist of St. George's Church, Worcester. Elgar was also a violinist, bassoonist, arranger, and conductor. Imperial March, composed in 1897 for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, brought him recognition. Among his compositions are Variations on an Original Theme (1899; known as Enigma Variations); The Dream of Gerontius (1900), a cantata using Cardinal Newman's poem as a text; two symphonies (1908, 1911); the Cello Concerto (1919); and the Violin Concerto in B minor (1910). His most popular works are his five Pomp and Circumstance marches (1901–30), the first of which is the famous Land of Hope and Glory. Elgar's style, influenced by German romanticism, is marked by a majestic grandeur and sure musical craftsmanship. He was knighted in 1904 and became Master of the King's Music in 1924.

See selected letters ed. by P. M. Young (1965); biographies by P. M Young (1955), J. F. Porte (1921, repr. 1970), R. Burley and F. C. Carruthers (1972), M. Kennedy (2004), and D. McVeagh (2007).

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