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Thread: Edward Elgar

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Default Edward Elgar

    What do you think of the man?

    The highlights for me are the symphonies, concertos and minature works, although there is so much more this composer has to offer.

    Was he the saviour of British music, or just another link in the chain?

    Debate opened! Enjoy!
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    I rather like some of the works I have heard composed by Elgar, although they aren't many.

    Of course, his Cello Concerto, Enigma Variations and Pomp & Circumstance March.

    Yesterday, I heard his Violin Sonata in E minor for the first time, and really enjoyed it.

    That's the extent to what I've heard of Elgar so far. I still need to hear his symphonies and more chamber music.

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    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of the Enigma Variations and In The South; however, as for British composers, I tend to put on Britten more often than Elgar. The latter, however, composed one of my favorite serenades, the Serenade in E minor.
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    For me, Britten is the weaker composer because his talent for melody is poor, and no British composer can surpass Elgar's talent for orchestration. This is all in my opinion.
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Elgar is by far my favorite British composer.

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    For me it's kind of between Elgar and Vaughan Williams. My favorite piece by Elgar is the Cello Concerto, second being the E minor String Serenade. He wrote some gorgeous stuff!
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    Williams is really great, too. I think Elgar and Williams are superior to Britten for orchestral works, but Britten's vocal works (especially the operas, like Peter Grimes) are some of the best in the British canon.
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

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    Member Kezza's Avatar
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    Absolutely love his cello concerto. I listen to it almost everyday. It's just beautiful and moving. A good contrast to shostas Cello concerto which I listen to nearly everyday as well :P
    "The next few years of your life are going to be hard and miserable if you want to be good" - My percussion teacher..
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    Senior Member SamGuss's Avatar
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    I have really gotten into his Cello Concerto. Awesome sauce.
    Remember the 3 SW's: Some Will, Some Won't, So What!

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    Senior Member PostMinimalist's Avatar
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    The Second English Musical Renaissance which brought to light composers such as Herbert Howells, Vaughan-Williams, Gustav Holst, Charles Villiers Stanford, John Ireland, Frank Bridge, William Walton and many others somehow evolved parallel to Elgar and not building upon him (at least historically, due to this tradition being an academic one where as Elgar was self taught). Musically however I think the SEMR would be much the poorer if it were not for the unsung heroic foundation of Elgar's music. If you like Elgar then you might try some Howells, particularly the 'music for Strings' CD recently released by Chandos which contains some masterpieces.

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Elgar is among my four or five favourite composers, seriously. He probably is the greatest English composer, but I wouldn't put RVW, Britten or even Tippett aside.

    His music is in fact terribly melancholic, as was he himself. But I like melancholic music. For example, Elegy for Strings, Sospiri, Cello Concerto...

    Symphonies and concertos rule, but what about his chamber works? I think they're perhaps Elgar at his most profound. Both Adagios of the String Quartet and the Piano Quintet, and the final movement of his Violin Sonata.

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    Senior Member confuoco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Elgar View Post
    For me, Britten is the weaker composer because his talent for melody is poor
    Interesting, I think his vocal works bear witness against it.

    If my notice is right, here in the middle Europe, Britten is consider to be the greatist English composer. Elgar isn't performed very frequently and his works aren't familiary known for common concert visitors (of course with exception of Cello concerto). That's why I have heard to only few his works yet. But I have his cello concerto with du Pré and J. L. Webber and also Enigma variations with VPO and Gardiner and saw some videos on the youtube and I like it very much...especially Nimrod is so wonderful piece of music, unbelievable. It corresponds with my nature. So I'm going to find his other works soon, surely.

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    Senior Member purple99's Avatar
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    Elgar's music has been hijacked by the political right, similar to the British National Party/National Front/sundry Nazis purloining the Union Jack. Look at this huffing and puffing last year from the Daily Telegraph:

    The decision to refuse the grant has reignited concern that Elgar's music is being blacklisted by the arts establishment because its inherent patriotism is regarded as a throwback to Britain's imperial past.

    Source
    From the British National Party website:

    With this [Land of Hope & Glory] he gave the country its unofficial second national anthem - for which the liberal-left have never forgiven him. It is therefore not surprising that outside of classical music circles the 150th anniversary of last month went almost unnoticed, not least by the Arts Council England, which refused to help fund any notable celebration including a contribution for £174,000 towards a series of youth concerts.

    BNP
    So Elgar's a political hot potato, with the far-right claiming him as their own and the establishment, apparently, refusing to fund the old duffer's anniversary. Is that Elgar's fault? Yes and no. No, because he can't be held responsible for how Nazis behave now in relation to his music. Yes, because he chose to set the following words to music. Don’t forget he was influenced by Wagner, Hitler’s favourite composer.


    Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned.
    God make thee mightier yet!
    On Sov'reign brows, beloved, renowned,
    Once more thy crown is set.
    Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
    Have ruled thee well and long;
    By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained,
    Thine Empire shall be strong.

    Land of Hope and Glory,
    Mother of the Free,
    How shall we extol thee,
    Who are born of thee?
    Wider still and wider
    Shall thy bounds be set;
    God, who made thee mighty,
    Make thee mightier yet
    God, who made thee mighty,
    Make thee mightier yet.

    Thy fame is ancient as the days,
    As Ocean large and wide
    A pride that dares, and heeds not praise,
    A stern and silent pride
    Not that false joy that dreams content
    With what our sires have won;
    The blood a hero sire hath spent
    Still nerves a hero son.


    The reference to extending the British Empire's boundaries refers to the Boer War, recently won at the time. So Elgar was celebrating the British military stealing land in Africa and helping establish the apartheid state. You can see why British Nazis like him.

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    Senior Member Rachovsky's Avatar
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    When I went to London I also saw that he was on the back of one of the pounds. Charles Darwin and Elie the Fry were on the other two ... -.-


    Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend. -- Beethoven

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Disgusting! To make Elgar and his work a matter of politics! What in the world might he have to do with nazism? Those Englishmen really have some serious problems...

    I personally am a liberal, a leftist, almost a Marxist. But I have no problem listening to Elgar. Even the words (which of course he didn't write) I don't find bad or evil or whatever. Isn't every other national anthem like this Land of Hope and Glory?

    There's been and there always will be a very thin line between patriotism and nationalism. Nationalism is a dreadful thing. Patriotism is just fine.

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