Collected Correspondence


Letters of a Lifetime

Elgar Works, publisher of the Elgar Complete Edition, is pleased to announce the launch of its new uniform edition, Edward Elgar: Collected Correspondence, with the republication of Letters of a Lifetime, edited by Dr Jerrold Northrop Moore. Dr Moore is an authority on the life and works of Elgar and the author of several books about the composer including the notable biography Edward Elgar: A Creative Life (Oxford University Press, 1984), and the self-explanatory Elgar: A Life in Photographs (OUP, 1972). The five volumes of correspondence edited by Dr Moore and first published by OUP between 1974 and 1990 form the nucleus of, and inspiration for, this edition of Elgar’s collected correspondence. While these five volumes, now much sought after, will be republished with minimal revision to the text, they have all been thoroughly updated to reflect the extensive movement and emergence of source material in the intervening period.

     This first volume provides a wide and varied perspective on Elgar’s relationships with family, friends, associates and acquaintances in the circles in which he moved; letters exchanged with more than a hundred men and women, and two animals. While other volumes in this edition will explore in greater depth those relationships from which the correspondence survives, this volume seeks to provide the reader with a fuller appreciation of the composer’s dexterity with words and of the personality of the man who wrote them, for his letters reflect his every mood – joy, despair, pure foolery – sometimes all together on the same page.

     Elgar often said that, but for accidents of circumstance, he might have been a writer; this book goes some way towards substantiating that claim. Within these pages the reader will find intimate exchanges with three generations of Elgar’s family; with the ‘friends pictured within’ the ‘Enigma’ Variations; with other composers such as Richard Strauss, Delius and Vaughan Williams; with conductors such as Adrian Boult and soloists like Fritz Kreisler; and with ‘Billy’ Reed, the musician most closely involved in Elgar’s creative process. There are exchanges, some transitory but many sustained, with writers and critics including George Bernard Shaw, Ernest Newman and Arthur Benson; there are letters to and from the establishment figures of Elgar’s world, including Arthur Balfour, courtiers and members of the Royal Household under four monarchs; and, in marked contrast, there is a letter Elgar wrote to his daughter’s Peter Rabbit, and one supposedly written by his favourite spaniel Marco.

     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 I Vol.1 ; xxiv + 584 pages ; 152mm x 232mm ; 11 b/w illustrations
cloth binding ; ISBN: 978-1-904856-51-1; Publication date: 14 December 2012

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