Happy Birthday Sir Edward Elgar

“My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take as much as you require.”

Edward Elgar, Letters of a lifetime

Edward Elgar was born on June 2nd 1857 in Lower Broadheath, a small village just outside Worcester. He was the son of a piano tuner and thus exposed to music at an early age. His father was also an organist and violinist and taught his son music when Elgar was little. His mother supported his interest in arts, which he expressed at an early age. Elgar learned German in order to go to the Conservatory in Leipzig to study, but his father could not afford to send him. Instead, he embarked on an office career as a solicitor.

He later started touring through Europe, to places such as Paris and Leipzig and met many great German composers, such as Schumann, Wagner and Brahms. It was not until 1883 when his first piece for orchestra was performed in Birmingham. His reputation as a composer grew steadily and he was known in the whole Midlands by the 1890s. He was soon known internationally and in 1899 his Enigma Variations were performed in London and became a great success. More importantly, the variations were very well received on the continent in Germany, France and Italy, which finally gave him a rank amongst other great composers of the time.

Elgar was knighted in 1904 and was appointed a member of the Order of Merit in 1910.

Today, Elgar is probably known best for his Pomp and circumstance marches, and the first of the series is now the characteristic piece played every year at the famous Last Night of the Proms in Royal Albert Hall in London.

We celebrate the probably greatest and most known classical composer of England today. Happy Birthday, Sir Edward Elgar! Your music still lives as vividly these days as it did a hundred years ago. Your music still moves us as it did a hundred years ago.

A list of famous compositions by Elgar:

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38 (1899–1900)

Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61 (1909–1910)

Falstaff, Op. 68 (1913)

Cello Concerto, Op. 85 (1918–1919)

Pomp and Circumstance five marches, Op. 39 (1901–1930)

Image reproduced from www.oratoriodeparis.asso.fr
Top video reproduced from YouTube / The Wicked North
Bottom video reproduced from YouTube / Morph4LP

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One Response to Happy Birthday Sir Edward Elgar

  1. Following years of extensive research, Robert Padgett found the unstated Principal Theme to Sir Edward Elgar’s ‘Enigma’ Variations. On February 3rd, 2009 – the 200th anniversary of Mendelssohn’s birth – Mr. Padgett determined that Elgar’s mysterious missing melody is Ein feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress) by Martin Luther. To learn more about this discovery, visit Mr. Padgett’s blog at:


    An ingenious musical cipher embedded in the opening bars of the ‘Enigma’ Theme confirms this discovery:


    A second musical cipher ensconced within Variation XIII provides the initials for the common three word title of Ein feste Burg – A Mighty Fortress:


    Elgar gave a copy of Longfellow’s romantic novel Hyperion to Hans Richter shortly after Richter conducted the premiere of the ‘Enigma’ Variations in 1899. Within the pages of that little book Longfellow mentions Luther and his most famous hymn. No wonder Elgar suspected the solution would soon be found since he literally (pun intended) gave away the answer to an esteemed musical authority who should have recognized it…if he ever bothered to read the book:


    The identity of Elgar’s hidden friend cryptically acknowledged in the title of Variation XIII with three asterisks is revealed here. That famous personage is not a lady, but a lord – the Lord. It is astonishing his identity has remained a secret for over a century considering his initials are openly hidden in the title of the Variation (X = J, III = C):


    Little did Mr. Padgett realize that cracking the ‘Enigma’ Variations would also unveil the identity of the hidden dedicatee to Elgar’s violin concerto:


    You are encouraged to comment on Mr. Padgett’s blog regarding any aspect of his original research, and to vote in his survey.