Following their marriage in 1889, the Elgars settled in London. Edward hoped that
the move would help him establish a national rather than purely provincial reputation
but it was not to be. In truth, at that time Edward had written little to justify the status he aspired
to. After eighteen months of comparative hardship and disappointment, he and Alice returned to
live in their native Worcestershire.
It is therefore somewhat ironic that, while in London, he received a commission from his
home town that was to lead to Froissart, his first published work to gain a measure of
national recognition. The commission, from the Worcester Festival Committee in November
1889, was for a short orchestral work to be premièred at the 1890 Three Choirs Festival.
composed most of the work during Spring 1890, completing it in July shortly before the birth of
his daughter Carice and in good time for the festival.
The work received measured acclaim from the critics, tempering their praise for its originality
and gusto with criticisms of a degree of repetitiveness and the lack of a coherent development.
This is fair comment, for although the work contains in embryonic form many of the hallmarks
that Elgar was to perfect in his mature output, Froissart displays a certain innocence and lack of
polish. The more perceptive critics commented on the promise they saw in the work, a faith
which Elgar fully repaid in the decade to come.