[ELGAR, Sir Edward], letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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'I often wish that it was he whom I had helped ...'

[ELGAR, Sir Edward] (1857-1934). Composer.
Fine Autograph Letter Signed from Eric Fenby to Mr & Mrs Gordon about Elgar's proposed visit to see Delius, 2 pages 4to (one small hole), Scarborough, 1 June 1933. Expressing reservations about the visit and giving his opinion of Elgar, making the remarkable suggestion that he may have preferred to work for Elgar rather than Delius.
 The celebrated meeting of the two English composers, both of whom were to die the following year, took place at Delius's home in Grez-sur-Loing, near Paris, on 30 May 1933. Fenby had been Delius's amanuensis since 1928 but had return to England in 1933 with the understanding that he would return to France at once if he was needed. He was to attend Delius in his final illness and at his death, as he recorded in Delius as I knew him (1936, revised 1981). Elgar had flown to Paris to conduct his violin concerto for Yehudi Menuhin and had been able to snatch only a fleeting visit to Delius, with whom he had a lively conversation and drank a toast in champagne.
'... You know I have a tremendous admiration and affection for [Elgar] for it is impossible for me to say how much his music has meant to me since boyhood. I despise the snobbish attitude of mind which many of my superior young friends entertain toward his work.H.S. Gordon, to whom, with his wife, the letter is addressed, was the editor of The Music Student.
 'I have read Basil Maine's life of Elgar and must confess that tears were not very far away - what a terrible struggle and bitter existence he has had!
 'I often wish that it was he whom I had helped in his old age - but thank God he is healthy and well. ...'

[No: 24557]

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