Elgar Cello Concerto Program Notes
By the time he wrote his cello concerto in 1919, Edward Elgar was a celebrated (and knighted) composer in his native England. His works included several of the Pomp and Circumstance marches, a violin concerto commissioned by Fritz Kreisler, the oratorio The Dream of Gerontius, and two symphonies. His Enigma Variations were twenty years old. During the years of the First World War, Elgar’s health had deteriorated, and his wife, Alice, had moved them to the country. He continued to compose, writing some beautiful, and somewhat autumnal, works. The inception of the Cello Concerto is a curious one: following surgery for a throat ailment, and while coming out of anesthesia, Elgar requested pencil and paper, and sketched the first theme of this concerto. Although the first performance, by theLondon Symphony Orchestra, went poorly, the concerto has since become a favorite of cello soloists and audiences across the world.
Born: June 2, 1857, Broadheath, United Kingdom
Died: February 23, 1934, Worcester, United Kingdom