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Edward Elgar
1857 - 1934
Great Britain, England
Picture Picture
E.W. Elgar
Sir Edward William [Edward] Elgar (02/06/1857 - 23/02/1934), an English composer whose works in the orchestral idiom of late 19th-century Romanticism--characterized by bold tunes, striking colour effects, and mastery of large forms--stimulated a renaissance of English music. He was born in Broadheath (Worcestershire). The son of an organist and music dealer, Elgar left school at age 15 and worked briefly in a lawyer's office. He was an excellent violinist, played the bassoon, and spent periods as a bandmaster and church organist. He had no formal training in composition. After working in London (1889-91), he went to Malvern, Worcestershire, and began to establish a reputation as a composer. He produced several large choral works, notably the oratorio Lux Christi (1896; The Light of Life), before composing in 1896 the popular Enigma Variations for orchestra. The variations are based on the countermelody to an unheard theme, which Elgar said was a well-known tune he would not identify--hence the enigma. Repeated attempts to discover it have been unsuccessful. All but the last of the 14 variations refer cryptically to friends of Elgar, the exception being his own musical self-portrait. This work, highly esteemed by Hans Richter, who conducted the first performance in 1899, brought Elgar recognition as a leading composer and became his most frequently performed composition.
The first English composer of international stature since Henry Purcell (1659-95), Elgar liberated his country's music from its insularity. He left to younger composers the rich harmonic resources of late Romanticism and stimulated the subsequent national school of English music. His own idiom was cosmopolitan, yet his interest in the oratorio is grounded in the English musical tradition. Especially in England, Elgar is esteemed both for his own music and for his role in heralding the 20th-century English musical renascence.
Lux aeterna
Composed in:1899
Musical form:motet
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Label(s):Naxos 8.55793
Decca Records 478 8053
EMI 2 28944 0
A vocal ensemble performed a stirring rendition of Elgar’s abiding melody ‘Nimrod’, as a tribute on Armistice Day 2016.
‘Lux Aeterna’, arranged by John Cameron, was performed by British ensemble VOCES8 who, through music, paid their respects to the veterans who served in the First World War, and all subsequent wars involving British and Commonwealth troops.The profound beauty and reflective nature of ‘Nimrod’, from the English composer’s Enigma Variations, have made it a favourite among those seeking a moment of serenity.
Its fluctuating dynamics, unresolved tension and soaring main theme make it one of the rare pieces that lends itself equally poignantly to weddings and funerals.

♫ Lux aeterna
© EMI 2 28944 0
The text for this angelic piece is as follows:

Lux aeterna

Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es.
Requiem aeternam
dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

May light eternal shine upon them, O Lord,
with Thy saints forever, for Thou art Kind.
Eternal rest
give to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.