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Edward Elgar

Charles Edward McGuire

in Music

ISBN: 9780199757824
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0070
Edward Elgar

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Edward Elgar was one of the most renowned and important composers at the beginning of the twentieth century and remains an extremely popular composer today. Several compositions, including the Variations on an Original Theme, op. 36 (“Enigma”), Cello Concerto, and two symphonies remain staples of the international concert repertoire. Even listeners who do not know the name Elgar will recognize at least one of his tunes: the trio section to the first Military March (“Pomp and Circumstance”)—known throughout Britain as the patriotic and nostalgic tune “Land of Hope and Glory” and throughout North America as the tune all university students march to upon graduation. Elgar’s music, to some, grants an easy sense of comfortable nostalgia: a peaceful, prosperous time just before World War I, and identification with the rustic and pastoral green hills of England. To others, Elgar’s music represents Great Britain at the height of its Empire, with all of the problems of jingoism and cultural superiority this implies. Most all agree, though, that Elgar himself was a complex figure, and many try to map such personal complexity into his music itself. The present bibliography provides an introduction to most aspects of Elgar scholarship. It aims to be inclusive and thorough while acknowledging that Elgar scholarship itself is not necessarily so. There are currently three separate traditions of writing about Elgar in existence, which sometimes coexist uneasily: the amateur Elgarians, enthusiasts of Elgar’s music who publish mostly biographical and composition-specific studies within the Elgar Society Journal (see Journals) and the occasional monograph on a particular composition; the critics, predominantly newspaper music critics and professional writers trained in fields other than music who concentrate on Elgar’s correspondence and biography; and the professional academics (with or without a university affiliation), who usually mix elements of social history, biography, and music analysis to concentrate on a particular composition or theme within Elgar’s work. While the borders of these three areas are permeable, the reader will notice that the great number of amateurs and critics tend to engage in only certain works, leaving others unexplored. Thus, this bibliography includes many entries annotating sources for the Enigma Variations and the oratorios, and relatively few for most other works, as few exist. The bibliography does not feature many reviews or short discussions of Elgar in works devoted predominantly to other subjects; the interested reader may wish to consult Hodgkins 1993 (see Reference Resources) for a longer (non-annotated) list. For reasons of space, individual essays within collections devoted to Elgar are not annotated, though the collections themselves are. The one exception to this, Porter 2001 (see Nationalism and Imperialism), is present because it represents a critical side in an ongoing debate about Elgar and imperialism. Articles from the Elgar Society Journal (see Journals) are also not annotated for the same reasons.

Article.  14515 words. 

Subjects: music ; applied music ; ethnomusicology ; music theory ; musicology and music history ; music education

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