Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Musical detour: Sir Edward Elgar

2007 happens to be the 150th anniversary of Sir Edward Elgar's birth (1857-1934). If you live in England, you may wish to investigate the Elgar Society. It's too late to join in their birthday bash for the composer but you can check the website for local music festivals in England.

Across the Atlantic, Elgar is unfortunately played less frequently. But the Bard Music Festival in New York remedies this quite nicely this summer. As the New York Times review of the Bard Music Festival says, Elgar is too often the subject of critical dismissal. But his skill in constructing a sense of "lofty pathos" remains unparalleled. Also notice the photograph of him in black tie and high wing collar in the article. I have yet to read a biography of his life but photos suggest an Edwardian gravitas in keeping with his music.

Below is a 1931 short film of Elgar conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1 ("Land of Hope and Glory").

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