Music You Should Know: Elgar's Cello Concerto

From Sir Edward Elgar’s heroic and patriotic Pomp & Circumstance (the graduation song everyone knows) came his agonizing and heart wrenching cello concerto. Disgusted and heartbroken by the destruction and grief caused by the Great War, Elgar did not write any music. In response to the war, Elgar poured his heart and soul into four pieces, most notably his Cello Concerto, which has been dubbed “Elgar’s lament for a lost world.”  

This Concerto was a way for Elgar to communicate his feelings to the public after years of withdrawal. In it, Elgar presents everything from melodies which represent the rolling hills of the British countryside to the raw emotion and heartbreak caused by the WWI. Conceived of grief and heartbreak, Elgar’s first and only Cello Concerto remains as one of his greatest works as an outpouring of his feelings and a representation of the sociopolitical atmosphere in all of Europe after the First World War.  

Through chord progressions representing cries so visceral that could only be expressed through music, Elgar presents his emotional vulnerability as a human being to the public. In his Cello Concerto, he is able to demonstrate what music, in my opinion, really is at its core- a medium between what one feels and what one desires to say.

Hello, my name is Brian at Delaware Valley High School!

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