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Born: 1857, Broadheath, EnglandDied: 1934, Worcester, England

“Music is in the air – you simply take as much of it as you want.”

Edward Elgar embodied the confidence of Edwardian England. His music, imbued with nobility and panache, reflects the country he clearly loved at the height of its imperial power. In his final large-scale work, the Cello Concerto (1918-19), Elgar laid bare his innermost thoughts, a troubled, stormy soul hidden behind a calm, mustachioed exterior. After this, he retired into arranging works by other composers and creating occasional music for festivals and expositions. Elgar, who also recorded a large chunk of his music, was one of the first composers to take advantage of the gramophone to preserve his interpretive ideas for posterity.

Further listening:Symphony No. 1 (1907-1908)BBC Symphony, Andrew Davis (Teldec)

Cello Concerto (1919)Yo-Yo Ma, London Symphony,André Previn (Sony Classical)

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