The Definitive Biography of Elgar, in a Creative Binding Reflecting the Link between Pastoral Nature and his Music


(London: Purnell Book Services, Ltd., 1973). 207 x 135 mm. (8 1/4 x 5 1/4). 447 pp. Second Edition, Book Club Edition.

STRIKING OLIVE CRUSHED MOROCCO, INLAID AND ONLAID, BY PAUL DELRUE (signed in ink and dated 1973 on front flyleaf), covers and smooth spine with wraparound design composed of the word "ELGAR" in maril onlay of multicolor leathers near foot of boards, and above it a swath of flying birds inlaid in russet leather, RUSSET MOROCCO DOUBLURES with flight of birds onlaid in black morocco, and quotes from Elgar blind-stamped in majuscules, marbled free endpapers, all edges gilt. In a green cloth solander box with paper medallion portrait of Elgar on front cover and brown leather title label on spine.
With 20 black & white photographs, including a frontispiece portrait. ◆As new.

First printed in 1955, this definitive biography of the self-taught musician described by DNB as "certainly the greatest composer to arise in England since the death of Purcell in 1695" is offered here in a very creative binding by a modern British master. The son of a music shop owner, Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) showed an early talent for music, playing piano in the great houses where his father went to tune the instruments. Elgar scholar Percy Young (1912-2004) traces Elgar's growth as musician and composer from his early career in Worcestershire through his triumphs in London, including his appointment to the Order of Merit (the "O. M." of the title) by King George V--he was the first musician to be so honored. Saying that his music represents "the essence of 'Englishness,'" DNB notes that "his ceremonial music has become part of the national heritage, while his lighter pieces appeal to a public which might not care as much for his symphonies and oratorios." It was the English countryside that most inspired him, and binder Paul Delrue has paid tribute to that, both with the maril onlays in muted colors that evoke a pastoral landscape and with the quotes he has tooled on the doublures: "My idea is there is music in the air, music all around me / I do all my composing in the open / at home all I have to do is write it down" and "This is what I hear all day / the trees are singing my music / or I have sung theirs." Delrue (b. 1944) is a long-standing Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and a founding member and Patron of the Society of Bookbinders. He has been practicing his craft in Wales for nearly 60 years.

Price: $2,500.00