Who is Sir Edward William Elgar?

Edward Elgar: Romantic Composer of British Music

Sir Edward William Elgar was an English composer, conductor and cellist who lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Elgar, who made outstanding contributions to British music, is especially known for his orchestral works and is considered a national treasure. His distinctive romantic style played an important role in bringing British music to international recognition.

Life and Education

Edward Elgar was born on June 2, 1857, in Worcester, England, into a family that ran a music store. Starting with music at an early age, Elgar learned to play various instruments and began working as a church organist at a young age. Although he had no formal musical training, he was self-taught and acquired a deep knowledge of composition and orchestration through an extensive musical library.

Music Career and Works

Elgar’s musical career gained momentum in the late 1890s and early 1900s. The “Enigma Variations” and “Pomp and Circumstance Marches” he wrote during this period brought him great fame. Elgar also composed many important works, including two symphonies, a violin concerto, a cello concerto, and an oratorio called “The Dream of Gerontius.”

  1. Enigma Variations (Op. 36):
    • One of Elgar’s best-known works, this orchestral work depicts the characters of his friends and acquaintances in the form of musical portraits.
  2. Pomp and Circumstance Marches (Op. 39):
    • These anthems are often played, especially at graduation ceremonies and other official events. March No. 1 has become a work as popular as the national anthem in England.
  3. The Dream of Gerontius (Op. 38):
    • Adapted from a poem by John Henry Newman, this oratorio deals with death and the afterlife and is one of Elgar’s greatest works for chorus and orchestra.
  4. Violin Concerto (Op. 61):
    • This work by Elgar is one of the most important and technically challenging concertos in the violin repertoire.
  5. Cello Concerto (Op. 85):
    • This work, composed by Elgar in the last years of his life, is considered one of the composer’s most personal and emotional works.


Edward Elgar died in 1934, but his works remain among the most valuable treasures of British music and world music literature. Elgar is known for his distinctive musical language and emotional depth, and his work is respected both in the UK and internationally. An important figure in the history of British music, Elgar also inspired many composers and made great contributions to the development of British music.

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