“Play it like something you hear down by the river.”
That’s how Sir Edward Elgar instructed his orchestra to play one of his symphonies. Elgar’s father had been a musician, his mother a farm hand. He and his six brothers and sisters were country people.
Though Elgar married beyond his class (an act which his in-laws never forgave); was knighted, and was friendly with the royal family, the composer remained self-conscious of his common origins. More to his music, however, he kept the spirit of a countryman. Elgar remained an outdoorsman; one who admired a fine horse, loved to fish, and enjoyed the occasional fox hunt.
WFMT celebrates music and The Animal Kingdom throughout the month of February. On Monday at 3:00 PM, hear The Farmyard, Harmony Music No.4 by Sir Edward Elgar.
The eleventh variation of Elgar’s Enigma Variations is a portrait of a bulldog named Dan.