This important biography of Elgar draws on letters and documents which became available in the preceding twenty-five years. Michael Kennedy, a distinguished musical biographer, uses this material, which includes Elgar's own vast correspondence, in an attempt to get to the centre of the composer's complex personality.
This important biography of Elgar draws on letters and documents which became available in the preceding twenty-five years. Michael Kennedy, a leading scholar of British music and a distinguished musical biographer, uses this material, which includes Elgar's own vast correspondence, in an attempt to get to the centre of the composer's complex personality. Elgar's letters reveal his unpredictable swings of mood, from gaiety and a fondness for puns to morose self-pity and a feeling that he was 'not wanted', and although much of Elgar's music sounds confident and coherent, it also has an underlying layer of unease, melancholy and insecurity. His relationships with his wife and other women friends are a continuing thread in the life of a man who remained acutely conscious of his lower middle-class origins in spite of his meteoric rise to fame, honours in Edward VII's reign and friendship with the King.
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'The author ... writes with a great sympathy for his subject, as well as a love for his music ... [his] wide-ranging knowledge gives this thoroughly enjoyable biography a cultural depth which enriches one's understanding of the life and work of this complicated musical genius and English gentleman.' Contemporary Review 'Michael Kennedy's elegantly written volume is full of interesting and sagacious comments on Elgar's compositions ...'. The Sunday Telegraph
About Michael Kennedy
Michael Kennedy has been the music critic for the Sunday Telegraph since 1989. He has written numerous musical biographies, particularly of British composers and conductors, including A Portrait of Elgar (1986). He also authored a highly acclaimed study of Richard Strauss (Cambridge University Press, 1999).
Table of Contents
1. 'Boyhood's Daze'; 2. Helen; 3. Alice; 4. Caractacus; 5. Enigma; 6. 'The best of me'; 7. Darkness at noon; 8. The last oratorio; 9. Symphony; 10. Windflower; 11. Second Symphony; 12. For the Fallen; 13. Brinkwells; 14. Post mortem; 15. Vera.
The Life of Elgar by Michael Kennedy
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Cambridge University Press
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