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Serenade e minor op. 20 for String Orchestra

About the Composer


Edward Elgar

Most important English composer of his day. His immense oeuvre comprises numerous choral works, songs with piano and orchestral accompaniment, several stage works, orchestral music of a mostly programmatic character, a few works of chamber music in his last phase, and works for piano and organ.

1857Born in Broadheath (Worcester) on June 2, the son of a music dealer. First attempts at composition at ten years of age. He is largely an autodidact with rich practical experience.
from mid-1870He plays in various orchestras in Worcester, including the Worcester Philharmonic Society as well as the Festival Orchestra (under the direction of A. Dvořák and others). From 1878 some of his compositions are performed (sometimes for the first time).
from 1882He serves variously as conductor of the Worcester Amateur Instrumental Society and the newly founded Worcestershire Philharmonic Society (1889–1904).
1889Moves to London.
1889–1903Cantata, “The Black Knight,” Op. 25.
1890Premiere of the overture “Froissart,” Op. 19, as his first major work.
1891Moves to Malvern; activities in the countryside.
1896Oratorio, “The Light of Life (Lux Christi),” Op. 29.
1897–99“Sea-Pictures,” Op. 37, for contralto and orchestra.
after 1897He composes works for ceremonial occasions for the English royal court.
1898–99Enigma Variations, Op. 36, a musical portrayal of fourteen of his friends.
1899–1900Oratorio, “The Dream of Gerontius,” Op. 38, serves as a watershed moment. He receives numerous honors, including honorary doctorates in 1900 and 1907, and in 1911 the Order of Merit.
1901–06Oratorios “The Kingdom,” Op. 51, and “The Apostles,” Op. 49.
1904–08Professorship at the University of Birmingham.
1908Premiere of his Symphony No. 1 in A-flat major, Op. 55; the pinnacle of his success, with 84 performances by 1909.
1909/10Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61, the first significant English concerto.
1911Premiere of his Symphony No. 2 in E-flat major, Op. 63, enjoys little success.
1912He moves to London.
1913Symphonic study, “Falstaff,” Op. 68.
1918Chamber music works, including the Sonata for Violin and Piano in E minor, Op. 82; the String Quartet in E minor; the Piano Quintet in A minor.
1918–19Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, a late magnum opus.
1934Dies in Worcester on February 23.

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