Elgar’s relationship with the conductor Hans Richter was both long and fruitful. Richter conducted the first performances of the ‘Enigma’ Variations, The Dream of Gerontius, and the First Symphony, and was present at the first performances of The Apostles, The Kingdom and In the South. A rich store of correspondence between the Elgar and Richter families is preserved and forms the basis of this book. But the families’ relationship did not exist in isolation, and so correspondence between the Elgars and others in the Richter circle is also included. Sydney Loeb, who was to marry Richter’s daughter Mathilde, soon appears on the scene, as does Marie Joshua (dedicatee of the Violin Sonata and a very close friend of the Richters over many years) who first met the Elgars at the very end of 1909. Richter’s Manchester friends the Gaskell sisters, daughters of the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, appear, as does Henry Ettling (Uncle Klingsor), a wine merchant and amateur timpanist who often played with the Hallé. Together their surviving correspondence of more than 250 letters draws a rich picture of Elgar’s relationship with a giant of the musical world.
Martin Bird is an authority on the life of Elgar and was editor of the Elgar Society Journal from 2011 to 2017. He studied music at school in the days when the A-level syllabus always included a work by Elgar and was bowled over by The Dream of Gerontius, a work he has since conducted. After graduating from the University of Kent and Canterbury with a degree in Economic and Social History and a subsequent career with British Airways, Martin now spends his time playing the double bass, and researching the life of Elgar. His dabblings in the backwaters of Victorian and Edwardian music history have resulted in a research database that has grown to over six million words. The database includes transcriptions of all letters to and from Elgar he has managed to locate plus full transcriptions of all surviving Elgar family diaries. These together form the basis of the Collected Correspondence series. In 2016 Martin was awarded the Elgar Society Medal ‘for his significant scholarship in editing the Elgar diaries and correspondence’.
Volumes of the Collected Correspondence edition can be obtained through all good book stores, specialist music shops and wholesalers, or directly from the publisher. For details, visit the How to Purchase page.
Series II Vol.2 ; x + 392 pages ; 152mm x 232mm ; 8 plates containing 21 monochrome illustrations
cloth binding ; ISBN: 978-1-904856-58-0 ; Publication date: 1 September 2017