Collected Correspondence


Provincial Musician : Diaries 1857-1896

Elgar Works, publisher of the Elgar Society Edition, is pleased to announce the publication of the second volume in its uniform edition, Edward Elgar: Collected Correspondence. This, the first of several volumes which will reproduce in full all known family diaries, follows the lives of the Elgars from shortly before their marriage in 1889, the first full year for which an Elgar diary is known to survive, through to the triumphant first performance of King Olaf in 1896. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources, including letters to and from the Elgars, it charts Elgar’s rise from talented Worcester musician to a composer well known throughout the West Midlands. We see his life as a local instrumental teacher; his move to London after his marriage; the excitement of concert life in London and the Crystal Palace; the birth of his daughter Carice; his retreat to Malvern with dashed hopes; and his gradual rise to fame through the early choral works, The Black Knight, From the Bavarian Highlands, Lux Christi, and King Olaf.

     A wag has misguidedly suggested we should have called this volume ‘The Boring Years’. While the volume indeed ends just as Elgar begins his rapid ascent to national renown and contains no more than a glimpse of the grand musical circles to which he aspired, we are presented with an equally fascinating picture of the life of Elgar the provincial musician, scarcely known about in any detail until now: the endless rounds of concerts, rehearsals, teaching commitments and golf with his bank manager while his wife took afternoon tea with a web of relatives and the Malvern social elite. 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. And while we are unable to confirm the rumour that an acrostic in one of the diary entries written by Elgar contains the solution to the 'Enigma', anyone wishing to prove us wrong is welcome to buy a copy and search for themselves.

     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.1 ; xviii + 492 pages ; 152mm x 232mm ; 25 b/w illustrations
cloth binding ; ISBN: 978-1-904856-52-8; Publication date: 28 August 2013

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