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Elgar said, "my first music was learnt in the Cathedral ...

Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies.In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer; in Protestant Britain, his Roman Catholicism was regarded with suspicion in some quarters; and in the class-conscious society of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he was acutely sensitive about his humble origins even after he achieved recognition.He nevertheless married the daughter of a senior British army officer.On 13 December 1883 he took part with Stockley in a performance at Birmingham Town Hall of one of his first works for full orchestra, the Sérénade mauresque – the first time one of his compositions had been performed by a professional orchestra.Stockley had invited him to conduct the piece but later recalled "he declined, and, further, insisted upon playing in his place in the orchestra.His second symphony and his cello concerto did not gain immediate public popularity and took many years to achieve a regular place in the concert repertory of British orchestras.Elgar's music came, in his later years, to be seen as appealing chiefly to British audiences.Years later, a profile in The Musical Times considered that his failure to get to Leipzig was fortunate for Elgar's musical development: "Thus the budding composer escaped the dogmatism of the schools." However, it was a disappointment to Elgar that on leaving school in 1872 he went not to Leipzig but to the office of a local solicitor as a clerk.He did not find an office career congenial, and for fulfilment he turned not only to music but to literature, becoming a voracious reader.He was an active member of the Worcester Glee club, along with his father, and he accompanied singers, played the violin, composed and arranged works, and conducted for the first time.Pollitzer believed that, as a violinist, Elgar had the potential to be one of the leading soloists in the country, Elgar coached the players and wrote and arranged their music, including quadrilles and polkas, for the unusual combination of instruments.

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