Thursday, 10 July 2008

Edward Elgar: A Short Pen Portrait

"You are prone to imagine there are several Dr. Elgars, according to the clothes and the circumstances in which you see him. There is one in evening dress pacing the corridor of a concert-room, in which a conductor is taking Elgarian works at unauthorised tempi. There is another in rough tweed and leggings, who frequents unfrequented lanes with chosen friends, who, armed with a spirit lamp and other impedimenta, take tea under hedges ‘like tramps’. A third, wearing an elaborate waistcoat, smokes genially in front of his own poker-work 'fire-music’ burnt on the panel over the study grate. A fourth walks slowly along the Worcester High Street, buried in a battered Panama pulled down to his chin. A fifth, attired in the customary suit of solemn black, ambulates lento, as though weary, in the precincts of a cathedral during a Three Choir Festival. This one wears a tall silk hat, crushed down on the forehead, and gives the impression of a distinguished colonel home for a year's holiday, and at present attending a funeral.
Dr. Elgar is tall, spare, angular, grave and courteous. He will listen with attention to skilled comment on his work, but gives short shrift to aggressive incompetence. Shadowy legends exist of patronising persons who were made to regret the indestructibility of matter, and to wish themselves well out of the Cosmos".

This description, written by Robert J. Buckley for a London journal in October 1903, was composed in a “jocular vein, has been accepted by many good Elgarians, and on this account may be allowed to stand!”

From Edward Elgar Robert J. Buckley London 1905

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