Friday, 20 March 2020

Sir Edward Elgar 1857 - 1934

I don't want to dwell too much on the current situation which has turned everyones' lives upside-down in one way or another. The effects are many and unexpected, with much upheaval yet to come. We are both trying to focus on the spring flowers, and the burgeoning of mother nature all around us. Take care all of you, and be safe - Rosemary
On Tuesday 2nd June 1857 Edward William Elgar was born.
'The Firs'
The cottage where Elgar was born. 






"I don't expect much from the nation, but if they ever think it worthwhile, I wish they would buy this little cottage. It's the only wish I've got, about the nation and me."
The Firs is now dedicated to Elgar and his life - it was curated by his daughter, Carice. There is a small concert hall which has one of Elgar's pianos, and a restaurant.  Currently the cottage is in the care of the National Trust.
The Severn mentioned by Elgar refers to the great River Severn which rises in mid-Wales then flows through Shropshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire. The county towns of Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester are all built along its banks. The Severn is the greatest river in terms of water flow in England and Wales, but sadly it has been responsible for much of the recent flooding.
"Whether the countryside makes the genius or however that may be, it is certain that no one was ever more imbued with the very spirit and essence of his own country than Elgar, it was in his very bones. 
Worcestershire and the Malvern Hills in particular were everything to him - the very look of spring coming, the cottages, the gardens, the fields and fruit orchards were different to his mind in Worcestershire...From walking, driving and bicycling there was very little of the county he did not know, and his memory for every village however remote and every lane however twisty and bewildering was extraordinary."
Carice Elgar-Blake on her father after his death in 1934. 


The Enigma Variations are perhaps Elgar's best known works. Of all the variations, Nimrod is perhaps Britain's best loved. 
The Proms began in 1895: in 1901 Elgar's newly composed 'Pomp and Circumstance' March No.1 was introduced as an orchestral piece. This was a year before any words were added (written by A.C. Benson). Henry Wood recollected "little did I think then that the lovely broad melody of the trio would one day develop into our second national anthem". 
Each year henceforth, on the last night of the Proms, the festival season always finishes with a rousing chorus of 'Land of Hope and Gory' sung by everyone present in the Royal Albert Hall, along with much flag waving, and cheering to the music of Pomp and Circumstance.

37 comments:

  1. A lovely post about a great man. Beautiful countryside too. Hopefully things will be back to normal in time for the proms. B x

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  2. Wow , at first I thought the initial quote were your words , could well have been seeing the actual situation . Love the cottage where Elgar was born , and I do understand his love for the beautiful countryside . Take care.

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    1. The first quote is, in fact, mine Jane - I have now added my name to it. Sorry if it confused. Elgar's music was sidelined at one stage, but now I believe he is universally much admired.

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  3. We now have plenty of time to enjoy the man's music and that is surely his greatest memorial. Pity they couldn't preserve his moustache too, that's a fine growth.

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    1. Yes, you are right. We must do many of the things that we sometimes neglect - music, reading, go out and enjoy nature, just as long as we keep our distance from one another.

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  4. What a nice post about a unknown man for me. That sculpture of him is well made. It invites you to have a seat next to him and for a chat.

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    1. Hope you have the opportunity to hear some of it at some stage.

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  5. Without a doubt one of Britain's greatest sons.

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    1. I enjoyed walking in his footsteps around the cottage and the garden

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  6. Dear Rosemary, I can hear the trumpets and the clarinets. Wonderfully uplifting post on a snowy morning. Spring has not come to this neck-of-the-woods.

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    1. Dear Gina - I did not realise that you still have snow - I know that when Spring does arrive for you in does it very quickly.

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  7. A lovely post! I enjoy his music too.

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  8. Fantastic to see all the memorabilia surrounding him, great statue on the bench, and the wonderful countryside...now I'm humming along.

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    1. I am so pleased - humming or singing is supposed to be very good for us all - so keep the humming Barbara.

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  9. Thanks for the lovely pictures of countryside.

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  10. Hello Rosemary, I am glad that Elgar has been given proper recognition in the land he did so much for. I can see how the beauty of his surroundings inspired his frame of mind and developed his innate musicality.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - Malvern is a lovely corner of the world - to walk the Malvern Hills is to follow in his footsteps where he would be thinking about the music that he was composing. Thank you for your extra comment which was much appreciated.

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  11. I love all of Elgar so very much - but didn't know that he was also such a good-looking chap!
    Is A.C.Benson somehow related with my beloved (late)E.F.Benson, whom I am allowed to call Fred (by the E.F. Benson Society - which I am a member of).

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    1. From his looks he appears to me to have had a gentle and kindly disposition - A.C Benson and E.F Benson were siblings.

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  12. Dearest Rosemary,
    Sir Edward Elgar sure left this world a true mark! He was brilliant, being self taught as well.
    It is fitting for having preserved the cottage where he was born!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - he was a self made man, a man imbued with his surroundings, and modest too. Long may his music live on for so many of us to enjoy.

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  13. When two of my children graduation from an American high school in Ecuador, I played Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March #1 as a two-piano duet for the ceremony. (Or a portion of it). Sadly, I hardly play anymore, but I did love playing that song. How great to have his cottage preserved.

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    1. That would be a wonderful rousing piece of music to play for two of your children at their graduation. You must have been a fine pianist, may be you will have the chance to take it up again one day.

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  14. I have always adored Elgar's music - it was played at Grammar School so often and all we girls loved him. I have many recordings but now can easily go often to YouTube when working on my laptop and listen to my favorites pieces (oh yes, Nimrod is first) as I work. England was gifted with such a special man and his music will always play on!

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    1. May be you will have the chance to visit Malvern one day Mary, and walk in his footsteps along the Malvern Hills - it would be lovely if I could take you there - we live in hope.

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  15. Loved this post, I didn't know much about Elgar but I found your information interesting. It is nice to get away from all the sad and scary news, reading blogs and catching up with people. Keep safe xxx

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    1. Somehow or another I feel the need to divert my attention away from all of this unsettling news, but it is a very difficult for all of us.

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  16. Was it Elgar who said, "Composing is remembering a melody which nobody else has ever thought of", or was it some other clever musical sod?

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    1. Sorry Tom but I have no idea who it was.

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  17. A nice tribute. That Malvern Hills photo makes me wish to traverse them again, one last time. A great hill range.

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    1. I can't believe that it was only two weeks ago that I was on those hills, it now feels like a lifetime ago. I live in hope that I will return.

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  18. The beautiful countryside surely was a an inspiration for such a talented musician. I have never thought much about who wrote that uplifting piece.Now I know...thanks

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    1. Elgar's triumphal music and A.C. Benson's words.

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