Edward Elgar occupies a pivotal place in the British cultural imagination. His music has been heard as emblematic of Empire and the English landscape. The recent success of Anthony Payne's elaboration of the sketches for Elgar's Third Symphony has prompted a critical revaluation of his music. This 2005 Companion provides an accessible and vivid account of Elgar's work in its historical and cultural context. Established authorities on British music and scholars new in the field examine Elgar's music from a range of critical perspectives, including nationalism, post-colonialism, decadence, reception and musical influences. There are also chapters on interpretation, including his own (Elgar was the first major composer to commit a representative quantity of his own work to record), and on Elgar's relationships with the BBC and with his publishers. The book includes much new material, drawing on original research, as well as providing a comprehensive introduction to Elgar's major musical achievements.