Monday, May 16, 2011
Sir Edward Elgar
The Rogue Speaks:
This is the time of year when seniors everywhere don cap and gown and march to the familiar sounds of Pomp and Circumstance. It brings back memories of those final days in school, doesn't it? How many know that the music was written by Sir Edward Elgar? Probably not many, unless it was printed in the graduation program. Maybe not even then, because the guests were searching for familiar names in the long list of graduates.
The world has certainly changed since Elgar was born in 1857. The pressure for young people to perform in the workplace is greater than it ever has been, but unfortunately, the jobs are just not there currently. Young people are having to move back in with their parents while looking for employment. I am glad that our children have finished school and are all gainfully employed, because when we left Memphis, we gave them only an 800 number and not our address, so they couldn't show up at the door with all their worldly belongings in black plastic trash bags. We felt that was a good incentive to find a job and keep it.
Of course, now the grandchildren are growing up. Most of them live on the other side of the country, and with the cost of gas these days, they can't afford to park themselves on our doorstep even if they wanted to. Some of them are way too young for college, and the way education is being decimated, and tuition is almost out of sight for most young people, there may be no schools left when that time comes
As of today, student loan debts for college exceeds eight hundred billion dollars. For those trying to pay off student loans and keeping their heads above water, declaring bankruptcy does not cancel student loans.
"Young Man Contemplating His Future"
I have really gotten off track here! Of course you shall learn about Sir Edward Elgar! I would not want to disappoint you, dear reader, so here are the facts!
Edward Elgar's father had a music shop in Worcester in the English Midlands, so it was only natural that young Edward loved musical instruments, and even taught himself to play a large number of them. He was a very determined student of musical composition. He was a Roman Catholic, and in the minority in Protestant England, who felt the Catholics were part of a lower class. Many of his early compositions met with apathy due to religious bigotry.
He continued on, though, perfecting his style, and in the 1880's and 1890's, he also taught the violin and played the organ in a Catholic church.
It was in 1889 that he married one of his students, Caroline Alice Roberts. Her family was against the marriage because they felt she was marrying beneath herself. Alice had great confidence in Edward's genius and played a great role in helping to develop his career as a composer.
Alice continued to be the driving force behind Edward, encouraging him and championing him at every opportunity. However, in 1920 Alice died, and a bereaved Edward lost his inspiration.
Throughout the 20's, Edward lead a quiet life in the country with his dogs. He occasionally visited London to conduct or record his music. In 1928 he was made Knight Commander of the Victorian Order. This gave him a new lease on life and he began to compose again.
In 1933 he conducted his violin concerto in Paris with a young Yehudi Menuhin, with whom he had recorded in London earlier that year. In October of that same year, Elgar was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his lower back. He died the following year.
If I had dug deeper into Elgar's life, I might have come up with a skeleton in the closet, but I think we have enough of those falling out of the closets of politicians these days.
This concludes my "E" offering for Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday. If you would like to hear more of Elgar's music, just stay tuned, because another familiar piece follows Pomp and Circumstance.