Provincial Musician, the first volume of Elgar diaries published in August 2013, covered the years up to 1896, years in which Elgar was gradually establishing a reputation as a competent but essentially provincial composer. This, the second volume of family diaries, takes us through the years in which Elgar emerged as a composer of national, though not yet international, status. These were of course the years of many of Elgar’s signature works – The Banner of St George, Caractacus, Sea Pictures, the ‘Enigma’ Variations, Gerontius, Cockaigne and the first two Pomp and Circumstance Marches, and we can follow the development of
these works, and the progress of others, as recorded through Elgar’s eyes and, more particularly if less impartially, those of his wife Alice.
But the volume sets this in a significantly wider context: firstly the routine of daily life
with its highs and lows, all recorded in the diary in somewhat cryptic detail - an Elgar-English
dictionary and editorial commentary are provided to aid comprehension; and secondly the
growing public recognition of the rising of a star, captured in newspaper reviews and
illuminated by correspondence with the family’s friends, relatives and business
acquaintances. Again drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources, the volume reveals a life
scarcely known about until now. As well as being of great interest to Elgarians and lovers of
music of the late Victorian age, the book will be of value to anyone interested in the social
history of the period.
Martin Bird, one of the General Editors of the Collected Correspondence edition, is an
authority on the life of Elgar and the current editor of the Elgar Society Journal. His Elgarian
researches have enabled him to compile a database of some 15,000 letters, reviews, newspaper
articles and other items which form the bedrock of the edition and the setting for individual
diary entries in this and subsequent volumes.
With a recommended retail price of £40.00, the volume can be obtained through all good book stores and specialist music shops, or directly from the publisher. For details, visit the How to Purchase page.
Series V Vol.2 ; xx + 468 pages ; 152mm x 232mm ; 8 plates containing 15 monochrome illustrations
cloth binding ; ISBN: 978-1-904856-55-9 ; Publication date: 8 May 2015