Elgar, Edward William

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Elgar, Edward William


Born June 2, 1857, at Broad-heath, near Worcester; died Feb. 23, 1934, in Worcester. English composer and conductor.

Elgar, who received his formal training as a violinist, studied composition on his own. He helped found a new national school of English music. In his monumental oratorios and cantatas, which made use of the national traditions of English choral music, he sought to embody the principles of Wagnerian musical drama. In the 1880’s, Elgar was active in the social movement to revive English national musical culture; the aesthetic principles on which the movement was based are realized in his own compositions, which make use of the traditions of early and popular English music.

Elgar’s works include the oratorios The Dream of Gerontius (1900) and The Apostles (1903); the cantata Scenes From the Saga of King O/a/(1896); two symphonies (1908 and 1911); the overture Cockaigne (In London Town, 1901); program works for orchestra, notably the Enigma Variations (1899); violin concerti; and chamber music. As a symphonist, Elgar most nearly resembles J. Brahms.


Maine, B. S. Elgar: His Life and Works, vols. 1–2. London, 1933.
Reed, W. H. Elgar (illustrated). London, 1939.
Kennedy, M. Portrait of Elgar. London, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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