Chapter

Shaw's Musician

Stanley Weintraub

in Who's Afraid of Bernard Shaw?

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037264
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041544 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813037264.003.0007
Shaw's Musician

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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Shaw, a music critic until 1894, had up to that time never heard Edward Elgar's music. Elgar became known as a major composer only in the later 1890s, and Shaw, who soon admired Elgar as the best since Henry Purcell, did not know until a decade later that Elgar, a Catholic and Conservative who deplored politics, exemplified by Shaw's plays and polemics, nevertheless attended and admired Shaw as a man of the theater. They would become friends; and Shaw, in his journalism, would actively promote Elgar's music and even adapt and integrate some of Elgar's remarks into his plays. Elgar dedicated his Severn Suite to Shaw; Shaw, as Elgar began to fade from view as his inspiration and his health declined, quietly persuaded the BBC to commission a symphony, which remained unfinished at Elgar's death in 1934. As Shaw lay dying in 1950, he asked that Elgar's music be played at his obsequies.

Keywords: Edward Elgar; George Bernard Shaw; composers; English music; Malvern festival; BBC

Chapter.  8608 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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