This, the fourth volume of the Elgar family diaries, again draws on a wealth of contemporary sources, including letters to and from the Elgars. It covers a period which in many ways was one of activity rather than achievement: of having to fulfil commitments made in previous years which were no longer totally amenable to him, whilst girding himself up to break away from the English disease of oratorio composition and to get on with his ‘real’ work – the Symphonies and the Violin Concerto. Despite international recognition as the leading British composer, Elgar found himself wandering semi-aimlessly both physically and mentally: lecturing at Birmingham and wishing he wasn’t; going to the USA each year and wishing he didn’t have to; finishing The Kingdom because he hadn’t done so in 1903; and escaping to Italy whenever he could afford to.
Martin Bird is an authority on the life of Elgar and the editor of the Elgar Society Journal. 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 at the addresses below.
Series V Vol.4 : xviii + 430 pages ; 152mm x 232mm ; 8 plates containing 26 monochrome illustrations
cloth binding ; ISBN: 978-1-904856-59-7 ; Publication date: 19 November 2018