Edward Elgar: A Creative Life Hardcover – 1 Jun 1984
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Top Customer Reviews
Mooore describes how Elgar shaped and reshaped each of his major works, often over a period of years, and how he managed to get them played at a time when even well-connected composers like Sullivan were overshadowed by the vogue for Brahms and other Continental musicians. He also explores Elgar's complex personality. Uneasy about his middle-class origins, Elgar often played the role of a bluff, country gentleman, but his music is more like that of a British Tchaikovsky --extravagant and restless, with a powerful emotional charge.
As Elgar's story unfolds, the whole musical life of early 20th-century Europe is conjured up. Moore traces the composer's friendships with Hans Richter, Richard Strauss, Fritz Kreisler, George Bernard Shaw and August Jaeger, the editor at Novello's who recognized and nurtured Elgar's genius.
The sections where the author analyses the music of Elgar are clear and informative (and not too complex for a non-specialist). The logic behind the analysis is clear and well-proven. Links between different works and links between events in Elgar's life and his music are also highlighted. One feels one understands the music better.
The biographical detail is extensive and thorough. On the strength of reading this book the first time I purchased many of the books quoted as sources by the author (e,g by W H Reed), so greatly had my appetite for Elgar been whetted.
When I reached the final pages it was with a sense of sadness. So vivid is the narrative that I really had the impression of having got to know the composer and his circle of friends. For an understanding and greater appreciation of all Elgar's music this is an essential companion. It is excellent both to dip into for reference and as a book to read through.
Using primary sources that range from Elgar's musical sketches and scores to letters, diaries and contemporary reviews, Moore shows how a self-taught violin teacher from Worcester created such masterpieces as the Enigma Variations, the Cello Concerto and the Dream of Gerontius. What's more, Elgar managed to get them performed--at a time Continental composers dominated the nation's concert halls.
Moore describes in fascinating detail how Elgar shaped and reshaped each major work, sometimes over a period of years--the Second Symphony took almost a decade to compose. He also explores Elgar's complex personality. Uneasy about his middle-class origins, he often played the role of a bluff, country gentleman, but his music is more like that of a British Tchaikovsky--extravagant and restless, with a powerful emotional charge.
As Elgar's story unfolds, the whole artistic life of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain is conjured up. Moore traces the composer's friendships with Hans Richter, Richard Strauss, Fritz Kreisler, George Bernard Shaw and Augustus Jaeger, the editor at Novello's who recognized and nurtured Elgar's genius.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The most comprehensive book on Elgar I have come across. 841 pages of detail. ExcellentPublished 4 months ago by NICHOLAS ALLEN
This is an authoritative survey by an American musicologist, analysing with sympathy and knowledge Elgar's life and music. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Stephen Bishop