Elgar, Sir Edward (William)
- Diana McVeagh
(b Broadheath, nr Worcester, June 2, 1857; d Worcester, Feb 23, 1934). English composer. His abundant invention, largeness of vision, and strength and singularity of musical character place him high among European Romantic artists and at the peak of British music of his time. He drew inspiration from the culture and landscape of his own country, resourcefulness from the study of his continental colleagues; and contributed to all the major forms except opera, creating a significant body of symphonic literature, the finest oratorio by an Englishman, and in his popular music a style of direct national appeal.
Elgar's father, William Henry Elgar (1821–1906), a Dover man, was apprenticed to a London music firm, and then in 1841 settled in Worcester, establishing a piano-tuning round and in 1863 opening a music shop. Among his early clients was the dowager queen Adelaide, and through this appointment W.H. Elgar came to tune the instruments of the local county families. Though a Protestant, he was engaged in ...