Edward Elgar, his dog and his car

Edward Elgar, his dog and his car


norman lebrecht

December 25, 2015

Newly rediscovered footage. A seasonal treat.

elgar dog

Tip: Play Nimrod as you watch.


  • Karl says:

    This footage has been available on the internet for years and I first saw it more than 20 years ago; it is not newly rediscovered. It is very charming and the appropriate music would be Mina. What I have not been able to find is a film clip showing Elgar conducting a private concert at Buckingham Palace in the early 1930s for the Duke and Duchess of York and Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. I am sure it was to play them the Nursery Suite. I saw this many years ago; it might have been a Pathe news reel. Is the Queen the only person still alive to have met Elgar?

    • Harold Lewis says:

      Probably not, though Her Majesty may be one of a diminishing group of people who can actually recollect their meeting with Elgar. I suspect there is a larger tranche of even older people who would have encountered the composer during their daily adventures in a perambulator round Malvern.

    • Ray Richardson says:

      You need to remember that some of what you read here often must be taken with a pinch of salt. The extract was included as an extra on the BBC World/ BFI dvd released in 2002 of Ken Russel’s ‘Elgar’. You get an extra bonus on this disc too, in having Michael Kennedy narrate the silent film. The excerpt given here ends as the car leaves Marl Bank, but on the dvd continues at the other end of the the ride where we see well known characters connected with Elgar arriving at the Cathedral and picked out and named by Kennedy. There’s a brief appearance of RVW. This was all filmed at the 1929 Worcester Festival.

      There’s a second episode on the disc at the 1930 Festival, but no Elgar. He’s there again though at the 1932 Festival, his last, and again narrated by Kennedy. The films were made by Harold Brooke, the then director of Novello’s.

      • Karl says:

        Yes, you’re absolutely right. I think Michael Kennedy would have known who were the few remaining people to have met Elgar too, and to remember doing so. Have you seen the film extract of the concert I mentioned? I wonder if it is in the Royal Archives as I have not found it on the Pathe website. I have a feeling I may have seen it at a presentation at the Barbican called “Elgar on Film” in about 1995 narrated by Anthony Payne maybe.

        On a different note, Mr. Lebrecht, you might find this Pathe news film fascinating, from the same time:

    • David Williams says:

      I have a book which contains a full double page photograph of the recording. The book is a Dutch translation of Sound and Hearing published in English by Time Inc in the USA in 1965. I have written “4 June 1931” under the photograph, information which must have come from somewhere. Indeed it was the Nursery Suite he was about to record. GBS is seated to the right of Elgar.
      My next door neighbour, who is nearly 88, was kissed on the head by Elgar who said “What a lovely baby” or something similar. It didn’t do my neighbour much good as he he totally unmusical.
      David Williams, Bedford.

  • Maraquero says:

    Thanks for posting this!

  • M. Kay says: