Elgar – Composer ABCs

Edward Elgar was an English composer, though much of his influence came from mainland Europe. He was born in 1857 and died in 1934. He was born into a musical family, of sorts. His father was a piano tuner and owned a small music shop where he sold printed music and instruments. His mother was very supportive of the creative education and made sure his music studies continued. He was the 4th of 7 children so they did not have a lot of money.

As Elgar approached the end of his general education, he desired to go to a music conservatory in Germany but was unable to do so. His father just could not afford to send him. So, he left school at 15 or 16 and took a clerk position at a solicitor’s office. He could not abide the desk job and soon left to make his way in the music world.

He did odd jobs and worked all he could. He conducted, played instruments (he was a talented pianist and bassoonist, plus he knew many other instruements), wrote music, taught private students, and more. He achieved a bit of success with his early compositions but did not gain great reknown until 1899. Prior to this success, he had taken on a student, Caroline Alice Roberts, a wealthy young lady who was also an author. They were married in 1889. She became a sort of muse and inspiration to Elgar, a force behind what was to become some of his most well-known works.

Likely Elgar’s most well-known piece is the first of his five Pomp and Circumstance Marches. He wrote this one in 1901. If you think you don’t recognize it, wait until about 1’50” to see if you don’t know it.

Elgar wrote a number of different pieces – from syphonic marches like the one above to full symphony pieces to concertos for single instruments to opera pieces and more. The following is probably the piece for which Elgar is best known by title, Enigma Variations. It is wonderful piece. Each variation is a musical example of someone Elgar knew and represented in music. The enigma part is that Elgar never specifically noted which variation represented who.

Elgar died a well known composer but he didn’t write all that much after his wife passed away in 1920. She was truly his muse. He left several incomplete pieces when he died several years after his wife. Regardless, he is a great composer to listen to.

Some of his other pieces:

Salut d’amour is said to have been written as an engagement gift to Caroline Alice Roberts in 1888.

Serenade for Strings is one of Elgar’s early works and won him a little bit of international reknown. It is from about 1892. It is a 3 movement work.

If you are looking for more information on Sir Edward Elgar, here are some additional sites to visit.







Lori, At Home.

Thank you for joining me this week for Composer ABCs. Please visit the hosts to find the linky and other participants.

Desiree @ Our Homeschool Notebook and
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Composer ABCs in this series:
A – Leroy Anderson
B – Bernstein, Bizet, Bax
C – Copland
D – Debussy and de Meij

Tagged: ,

11 thoughts on “Elgar – Composer ABCs

  1. Annette Vellenga (@athomepets) May 10, 2021 at 10:13 pm Reply

    I love reading the stories of how people are inspired by their spouse in the work that they do. It just lifts my spirits. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Chareen May 12, 2021 at 1:00 am Reply

    Thank you for sharing pieces to listen to in your posts. It really brings these people to life. I also love hearing about people who lived relatively close to our timeline. Thank you too for linking up with Blogging through the Alphabet.

    • 3gigglygirlsathome May 12, 2021 at 11:51 am Reply

      I agree. Without the music, their lives are harder to step into. The music is key.

  3. Ellen W May 12, 2021 at 2:15 pm Reply

    I recognized it! All of those pieces are beautiful. Such talent. Thank you so much for sharing. I enjoyed watching the videos.

    • 3gigglygirlsathome May 12, 2021 at 3:11 pm Reply

      You’re welcome. I am enjoying pulling these together, too, and getting to sit and listen to the pieces I enjoy so much.

  4. Fauré – Composer ABCs | At Home May 18, 2021 at 7:33 pm Reply

    […] Composer ABCs in this series:A – Leroy AndersonB – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – Elgar […]

  5. […] – Leroy AndersonB – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – […]

  6. Holst ~ Composer ABCs | At Home May 31, 2021 at 10:28 am Reply

    […] – Leroy AndersonB – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and […]

  7. Ives ~ Composer ABCs | At Home June 7, 2021 at 8:48 am Reply

    […] – Leroy AndersonB – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and GinasteraH – […]

  8. […] – Leroy AndersonB – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and GinasteraH – HolstI – […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: