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Sir Edward Elgar

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Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English Romantic composer. Several of his first major orchestral works, including the Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, were greeted with acclaim. He also composed oratorios, chamber music, symphonies and instrumental concertos. He was knighted at Buckingham Palace on 5 July 1904 and appointed Master of the King’s Music in 1924.

Edward Elgar was born in the small village of Lower Broadheath outside Worcester to William Elgar, a piano tuner and music dealer, and his wife Anne (née Greening). He was the fourth of seven children. His mother, Anne, had converted to Catholicism shortly before Edward’s birth, so Edward was baptised and brought up as a Roman Catholic.

Elgar was an early riser, and would often turn to reading Voltaire, Drayton, historical classics, Longfellow and other works encouraged by his mother. By the age of eight, he was taking piano and violin lessons, and would often listen to his father playing organ at St. George’s church, and soon took it up also. His prime interest, however, was the violin, and his first written music was for that instrument.

Surrounded by sheet music, instruments, and music textbooks in his father’s shop in Worcester’s High Street, the young Elgar became self-taught in music theory.

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