Monday, 27 August 2012

Elgar

Dean Elgar
Fantasy Bob is sure that the music lovers among his 3 strong worldwide readership will have noticed with enthusiasm that another celebrated musical name has entered the lists of international cricketers.  South Africa's all rounder Dean Elgar has joined the party for 5 match ODI series against England.  He follows hard on the heels of Wagner whose debut for New Zealand was celebrated by FB earlier this year.

There is no indication that Dean Elgar might be related to Sir Edward Elgar the celebrated composer, owner of one of the proudest moustaches in musical history and  the composer of Land of Hope and Glory.

FB has nothing against Elgar's moustache, but feels that it is a shame that his popular reputation rests on Land of Hope and Glory.  It is a fine rousing tune, but spoilt by the overtly imperialist words written for it by A C Benson in 1902.  Elgar himself became concerned about the assertive stance of the lyric and during the First World War tried to ensure that less nationalistic verses were made available.  However Benson's words persist and will be launched again shortly at the Last Night of the Proms. Land of Hope and Gory has never been used as an anthem at international cricket matches, but it is used at Twickenham prior to England's matches. It also seems bizarre to FB that until 2010 it was used by the English team at the Commonwealth Games - presumably there was thought to be some merit in reminding all other nations of the imperial origins of the event.  It has since been replaced by Jerusalem.

Sir Edward Elgar in 1900
But Elgar has many other fine works which confirm his status as a great musician and not just an Edwardian imperialist crusty.  From miniatures like the charming violin piece Salut d'Amour to the grand choral masterpiece Dream of Gerontius, his work continues to grow in reputation and popularity.  His Second Symphony and Cello Concerto are mainstays of the repertoire and deservedly. Cricketers should make an effort to become familiar with these works. Elgar still may still be regarded as the quintessential English composer and be performed more in British concert halls than abroad, but few now dispute that he is Test Match Quality

Elgar was born and brought up in Worcester in the 1850s, at the time when Worcester CCC was formed.  Elgar was born in 1857; Worcestershire CCC was formed on 4 March 1865 at the Star Hotel.  The club moved to New Road in 1896 although it was not until 1899 that it entered the County Championship.   1899 was the year that Elgar produced his first truly great work - the Enigma Variations which established his reputation as the leading British composer of his generation. The variations are inspired by a number of Elgar's friends, but none of them is a cricketer.  Nor is the enigma a speculation a wry comment on the LBW law, but refers to a disguised theme in the piece.  Indeed cricket does not seem to have been part of Elgar's life, which may or may not have been a source of disappointment to him.  He was keen on racing and supported Wolverhampton Wanderers which seem scant consolations.

FB welcomes Elgar who joins Strauss and Wagner in the Musician's XI.  FB looks forward to the time when Shostakovich opens the bowling at some Test ground somewhere.

2 comments:

  1. oh Dean Elgar is such an amazing cricket player and he is one of my idols actually, I wish him all the best always, you should make another post on his biography

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