Elgar at the age of 44 - the
Grindrod portrait

Elgar's Kingdom

Edited by Martin Bird
E-mail : [email protected]
Last Updated : 11 September 2011


English Musical Vernaculars, 1800-1950 Added :
11 September 2011

A series of free workshops sponsored by The Elgar Society, to be held in the History Faculty, Oxford University. These events are open to all members of University and The Elgar Society.

1st workshop:
Time and location: Friday 28 October, 2011, 2pm-5pm, The Lecture Theatre, History Faculty, George Street, Oxford OX1 2RL. Buffet lunch from 12.30 in the Common Room.

Professor Michael Pickering (Loughborough University)
Professor Rachel Cowgill (Cardiff University)
Dr George Revill (Open University)
Oskar Cox Jensen (Oxford University)

Organized by David Hopkin (History Faculty, Oxford University) and Daniel Grimley (Music Faculty, Oxford University). If you are interested in participating please contact David Hopkin, telephone number 01865 279 459.

The second workshop will be held on Friday, 3 February 2012.


East Anglian Branch Added :
20 June 2011

The East Anglian Branch of the Society has been relaunched. Click here for details.


Anthony Payne Added :
12 June 2011

The Elgar Birthday Concert given by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Malvern on 4 June was the fitting occasion for the presentation of the Elgar Society Medal to composer, writer and broadcaster Anthony Payne in recognition of his long-standing contribution to the Elgar legacy.

The medal was conferred upon Mr Payne by Steven Halls, Chairman of the Elgar Society, at the start of a concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Walker, at the Malvern Theatres during what has become known as Elgar�s �Birthday Weekend� � 2 June being the anniversary of the composer�s birth.

The Elgar Society Medal is the society�s highest honour and recognises performers or scholars who have contributed significantly over the last decade or more to the wider appreciation of Elgar and his music. The citation in the evening�s concert programme pays specific tribute to Anthony Payne's contribution to the Elgar legacy in three major undertakings: his completion of the sketches of Elgar�s uncompleted Third Symphony, which was given its premi�re at the Royal Festival Hall 1998 and subsequently recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Davis; his completion of the sixth Pomp & Circumstance March, which was premi�red at the 2006 Proms; and his completion in 2007 of the orchestration of the music for the Crown of India Suite, which was recorded in 2009 with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Davis.


Elgar plaque Added :
12 June 2011

A plaque commemorating Sir Edward Elgar�s tenure as organist at St George�s Catholic Church in Worcester was unveiled by the Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, on Saturday 4 June.

The plaque was funded jointly by St George�s Church and the Elgar Society, and was designed by David Hughes, a member of the society�s West Midlands branch. Elgar�s father, William Elgar, was organist at St George�s Church from 1846 to 1884: having been his assistant from the mid-1870s, Elgar succeeded his father as organist in 1885, at the age of 28.

Archbishop Longley entered the church to Ecce Sacerdos - which was set to music by Elgar and premiered at St George�s Church in October 1888 � and was formally welcomed by the parish priest, Fr Brian McGinley. The Elgar Chorale of Worcester sang from the gallery, accompanied by Dr Donald Hunt, with their programme including the three motets, Ave Verum Corpus, Ave Maria and Ave Maris Stella which Elgar wrote during his four-year tenure as organist.� After the dedication of the plaque and an address by Archbishop Longley, the service closed with Elgar�s setting of the Latin hymn O Salutaris Hostia and a final Vesper Voluntary.


Elgar Society Edition Added :
15 May 2011

Volume 24, Music for String Orchestra, is now available. Click here for details.


Michael Kennedy Added :
13 March 2011

In a presentation at Manchester�s Bridgewater Hall on 24 February, the music critic, author and journalist Michael Kennedy CBE was presented with The Elgar Society Medal in recognition of his role in furthering the legacy of Sir Edward Elgar through scholarship and publications over the last 40 years.

The medal was conferred upon Mr Kennedy by Andrew Neill, a Vice-President of the Elgar Society, on behalf of Steven Halls, the Society�s Chairman, during a concert by the Hall� conducted by Sir Mark Elder. The presentation took place on the platform at the Bridgewater Hall just before the performance of Elgar�s First Symphony.

The Elgar Society Medal is the society�s highest honour and recognises performers or scholars who have contributed significantly over the last decade or more to the wider appreciation of Elgar and his music. The award was originally open only to nominees from outside the United Kingdom. However, the Elgar Society widened the criteria last year to embrace citizens of the UK, and Michael Kennedy is the first British-born recipient. His citation was reproduced in the evening�s concert programme and pays tribute to his body of published work, which includes Portrait of Elgar (1968), Elgar Orchestral Music (1970) and The Life of Elgar (2004) together with numerous articles, reviews, programme notes and contributions to films.

Michael Kennedy, who was 85 on 19 February, joins a select assembly of previous Elgar Society Medal recipients, including conductors Vladimir Ashkenazy, Leonard Slatkin, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Tadaaki Otaka, Andrew Litton and Sakari Oramo, together with the Danube Symphony Orchestra and Elgar biographer Jerrold Northrop Moore.

�No-one has done more to promote the Elgar cause over such a long time and contributed so much to Elgar appreciation and scholarship than Michael Kennedy,� says Elgar Society Chairman Steven Halls. �He combines the highest level of scholarship with musical sympathy and a warm humanity.� Geoff Scargill, the chairman of the Society�s North-Western Branch said: �All of us in the Society thank Michael Kennedy and hope that he will continue to champion Elgar�s cause for many years to come.�


Nikolaj Znaider Added :
21 November 2010

The first Elgar Society Certificate of Merit has been presented to Nikolaj Znaider in recognition of the violinist�s championing of the Elgar Violin Concerto, particularly during 2010, the concerto�s centenary year.

Taking place on the 100th anniversary of the first performance of the Elgar Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61, the presentation to Nikolaj Znaider was made by conductor Sir Colin Davis during a private ceremony at the Barbican between rehearsal and performance by Znaider and the London Symphony Orchestra on 10 November. In what The Times (11 Nov) likened to a s�ance, Znaider performed on the 1741 Guarnerius del Gesu once owned by Fritz Kreisler, the same instrument on which the work was premiered on 10 November 1910 at the Queen's Hall, London, under the baton of the composer himself.

�We have inaugurated this Certificate of Merit in order to recognise significant achievements - whether on a single occasion or during a particular year - which contribute to a greater appreciation of the legacy of Sir Edward Elgar,� explains Steven Halls, Chairman of the Elgar Society. �Nikolaj Znaider has performed the Elgar Violin Concerto on at least at least sixteen occasions over the last year in major concert venues around the world, and many of our members have expressed delight at his determination to re-interpret this fine work for new audiences.�


Margaret Elgar Added :
10 October 2010

Members and friends of the Elgar Society were saddened to learn of the death of Margaret Elgar, 82, who died suddenly on 30 September. A great-niece of Sir Edward Elgar, Miss Elgar was the last member of the composer�s immediate family who bore the Elgar name and who could remember her �Uncle Edward�.

A grand-daughter of Elgar�s brother Francis (Frank), Margaret Elgar had fond memories of her great-uncle, including recollections of being taken to have tea with him and walking round the garden of his home at Marl Bank in Worcester in the early 1930s. After the composer�s death in 1934, the young Margaret assisted Elgar�s daughter Carice in founding the Elgar Birthplace Museum at Broadheath and she remained a valued archive research volunteer at the museum, supporting talks to members of the Elgar Society with her personal collection of family photographs.

For many years, Margaret Elgar was on the committee of the West Midlands branch of the Elgar Society, accepting the role of Honorary Patron in her later life. �Margaret Elgar was a kind, generous, humorous and loyal lady,� reflects Ernie Kay of the West Midlands branch of the Elgar Society. Branch chairman John Harcup agrees: �Miss Elgar was always quiet, but when she did speak her mind it was full of wise words, and she worked tirelessly to ensure that the continuing performance and understanding of Elgar�s music remained our priority.�


This Charming Island Added :
8 August 2010

Originally written to mark a�Society 150th�'Special Event' following Edward and Alice's footsteps through the celebrated Landslip on the Isle of Wight, 'This Charming Island' provides an account of their honeymoon idyll at Shanklin� and Ventnor during the May of 1889, a honeymoon marking the formal beginning of a partnership that would nurture works of genius. To all intents and purposes it was a quiet stay, with walking and fishing and occasional excursions, yet Alice proudly remembered the details all her life. 'This Charming Island' is based on previously unpublished letters, diary entries and local newspaper sources. In addition to the newylweds' story�it offers�some curious pre-echoes of the Enigma Variations (first performed almost exactly ten years after the end of�Edward and Alice's honeymoon), together with some background on Ventnor's unusual social world.

246 x 179mm, 34pp, profusely illustrated with period photographs and facsimiles, available from the Elgar Birthplace Museum, at �6 inclusive of p&p.


Online video links Amended :
29 July 2010

Various video clips are available online that will be of interest to Elgarians. These may be accessed via our Video Link page. The latest features Sir Adrian Boult.


Ballantine Bequest Added :
8 March 2010

Following the death of journalist and Elgar enthusiast John Ballantine, it has been announced that the Elgar Society has been named as a beneficiary under the terms of Mr Ballantine�s will.

Amounting to �30,000, the Ballantine Bequest is the second substantial legacy left to the society in recent years, the first having been used to sponsor specific performances of rarely-heard Elgar works under the society�s �Elgar in Performance� initiative. �Whilst we depend on members� subscriptions to run the society�s operations on a day-to-day basis, larger bequests such as these provide the basis for significant projects which are of benefit to the wider cultural community,� says Elgar Society Chairman Steven Halls. �We extend our thanks to Mr Ballantine�s estate for this generous gesture.�

A former staff sportswriter on The Times and The Sunday Times, John Ballantine (1923-2009) was a long-standing member of the West Midlands branch of the Elgar Society. �John had an intense love of England and towards the end of his life was described by one of his friends as a true Edwardian gentleman,� said branch secretary Richard Smith in a tribute to Mr Ballantine. �His musical appreciation was wide-ranging, but his main love was Elgar, again reflecting his intense affection for his country. John was able to charm and befriend those around him and extend his love of life to brighten their lives.�

Representatives of the Elgar Society attended John Ballantine�s funeral, which was held in his adopted home town of Stratford-upon-Avon.


David Owen Norris plays Elgar Added :
1 April 2009

The latest CD on the Elgar Editions label contains the Karg-Elert transcription of Falstaff, a manuscript lost for many years in the bowels of the British Library until rediscovered by David Owen Norris. The CD also includes David's own transcriptions of the first five Pomp and Circumstance Marches, and Elgar's fullest draft of his sixth Pomp and Circumstance March, only discovered in June 2007 after the Payne realisation had received its premiere.

The CD can be ordered from the Elgar Birthplace Museum Shop, which can be accessed here.


Elgar/Rooke Piano Trios Added :
1 April 2009

World premiere recordings of Elgar's three unfinished movements for piano trio, completed by Paul Adrian Rooke and recorded by Dutton, are now available. The CD also contains the Bridge Piano Quartet and Adele Maddison's Piano Quintet, again in world premier recordings. The full score of the Elgar trio movements, published by Elgar Works, is also available, complete with separate violin and 'cello parts.

The CD and score can be ordered from the Elgar Birthplace Museum Shop, which can be accessed here.


Elgar Study Scores Added :
16 October 2006

The firm of printers and music publishers in Munich, Musikproduktion Juergen Hoeflich (www.musikmph.de), specialise in producing very fine quality study scores (about 9" x 6.5") of music that isn't available in print elsewhere.� For instance, their catalogue includes much orchestral music by Raff, Rubenstein, Rudi Stephan, Svendsen, Schmidt, Chadwick, Magnard, Suk, Novak and Bruch, as well as Parry, Stanford, Hurlstone, Holst, Grainger and others.

Each volume has an introduction in English and German, giving the background and context of each work, and contains details of where to obtain performance material.� This is the real purpose of this series - to encourage performances.� The publishers have subscribers all over the world.

MPH�have just�published Parry's music to The Birds, several pieces by Josef Strauss, and two volumes of the complete orchestral and chamber music of George Butterworth, much of which has been newly typeset.� More importantly for the Elgar Society, they have just brought out Elgar's Falstaff, with the composer's own analytical note, plus a volume of all four string pieces (Serenade, Intro & Allegro, Elegy and Sospiri).� They have the Three Bavarian Dances in print as well.

In the coming months, they will publish study scores of The Coronation Ode, Coronation March and God Save the King, From the Bavarian Highlands (with orchestra), The Banner of St George, and several short works (inc. Sevillana, Spanish Serenade�and the Three pieces Opus 10), the P & C Marches (with the Imperial March), the Crown of India, Polonia and all the concertante works (inc. the Romance for Bassoon).


The Elgar Education Programme Added :
10 January 2006

Full details of The Elgar Education Programme may be seen by clicking here.

The Elgar Society has agreed a sponsorship deal with the British Schools Cycling Association which marks a new and exciting venture for the Society by linking up with a non-musical organisation.

As part of the Society�s remit to engage with young people, it was felt that the society could tap into the fact that Elgar was a very keen cyclist all his life and composed some of his greatest music while out riding his bicycle over the Malvern hills.

Lucy Chittenden (14yrs) a member of the Farnborough & Camberley Cycling Club and who also rides for British Schools Cycling was presented with �1000 at the Porsche Centre Guildford who kindly hosted the presentation. Lucy said "From what I know of Elgar he was quite an amazing guy and I am quite impressed that he rode a bike". Lucy went to say "This sponsorship was really kind of the Elgar Education Programme and hopefully this will encourage more young people to get active and like Elgar better themselves". Lucy has aspirations to compete for Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics in the Triathlon.

Mr. Ron Dowling, representing the British Schools Cycling Association said that "this sponsorship deal between us and the Elgar Society was a great opportunity for holding an Inter-County Schools Team Competition on a closed circuit. This type of event would be a first for us and without this generous sponsorship it would not be possible for it to happen. The South of England would be hosting the first event in summer 2006".


Elgar in Performance Added :
1 September 2004

The Elgar Society would like to encourage - by giving financial assistance - performances of Elgar's works that are rarely performed and to encourage performances of any of his works in areas where his music is rarely heard. In particular, the Society would be delighted to encourage with such assistance performances which otherwise would not take place.

Full details of the scheme, and an application form for financial assistance, are available elsewhere on this website.


Elgar Birthplace Museum -
New Website
Added :
1 March 2003

The Elgar Birthplace Museum now has its own website. This can be accessed at www.elgarmuseum.org

This exciting new site is now live, and all pages on the Elgar Society site referring to the Birthplace have been redirected.

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