Edward Elgar was an English composer, celebrated for bringing a direct national appeal to his music. He possessed great vision and individuality in his musical character, drawing inspiration from his own surroundings, the culture and the landscape of Britain. He composed in many forms except for opera, and excelled at symphonic writing, producing one of Britain’s finest oratorios.
Elgar was born in Broadheath in 1857 near Worcester and grew in a house above the family music shop, Elgar Bros. in the centre of Worcester. Elgar spent most of his summers on a family farm at Broadheath, close to the Malvern Hills, which coloured his imagination and later inspired a certain pastoral style in his composition. Elgar’s father, as well as running a music shop, was also the organist at the nearby Saint George’s Roman Catholic Church and all the Elgar children received a musical upbringing. Elgar had hoped to study at the Leipzig Conservatory, but since his father could not afford to send him, he instead worked as a clerk at a local solicitor’s office.
The fact that he never made it to study at conservatory level was a sort of a blessing in disguise by all accounts, because it meant that he developed in a very personal way, contrary to the dogmatism in the music colleges.