Edward Elgar and the First World War: An Exploration of the Reception History of His Wartime Music

Temple, Katie Victoria (2021) Edward Elgar and the First World War: An Exploration of the Reception History of His Wartime Music. MRes thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Edward Elgar offers an interesting case study in the British cultural response to the First World War. By the time of the conflict, Elgar’s reputation as an important national figure was firmly established; as such, his music became part of the official ‘war effort’. Despite this, many of his wartime compositions have failed to obtain a permanent place in the concert repertoire, with this music often seen as necessary for the time but insignificant in comparison to the rest of his output.

This thesis explores Elgar’s creative response to the war and evaluates the importance of his wartime music to his overall compositional development, particularly through consideration of the reception history of his wartime works. Elgar’s compositions demonstrate the changing responses of music to the war, from his first patriotic statements to the introspective musical works of the postwar years. Indeed, these works offer an insight into the range of emotions war engendered and the role of the arts in expressing them. In this thesis, specific consideration is given to The Spirit of England, op. 80 (1915–17) and The Fringes of the Fleet (1917) through musical analysis and a critique of their reception history. Exploring the reception of Elgar’s music not only enables a greater understanding of the significance and meaning of these individual pieces, but also allows one to gain a sense of the broader musical discourse at the time, thus bringing Elgar into dialogue with more recent scholarship in twentieth-century British music culture.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MRes)
Supervisors: Cooke, Mervyn
Thumpston, Rebecca
Keywords: Edward Elgar, First World War, WW1, music and war
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 65465
Depositing User: Temple, Katie
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2024 10:01
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2024 10:01
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/65465

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