ELGAR, Sir Edward (1857-1934). Composer.
Autograph Letter Signed to H[ezekiah] Lloyd (1854-1918), 1 page 4to, Plas Gwyn, Hereford (blind stamp), 6 April 1905. Thanking him for a letter 'referring to the Black Knight', and expressing interest in knowing more about what might be containing in 'Mr Spray's music'.
The Black Knight, op. 25, was Elgar's first major choral work, to words by Longfellow, first performed at Worcester on 18 April 1893.
The remainder of the letter is intriguing:
'... I am interested to hear that you have Mr. Spray's music: amongst the MS.S. [sic] are there any things by Alfred Reynolds perhaps you could let me know sometime.'
Fred Spray, to whom Elgar is referring here, was a musical friend of Elgar's father and a fellow member of the Worcester Glee Club. For a short time he had given the young composer violin lessons in 1874. Perhaps Lloyd had come into possession of his printed and manuscript music.
We are grateful to Martin Bird, editor of the Elgar Society Journal for the following information, from material which will appear in An Elgarian Who's Who in February 2014.
Hezekiah Lloyd was born in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, Staffordhire, the son of Thomas Lloyd, a padlock maker. He spent his entire working life with Mander Brothers of Wolverhampton, the varnish manufacturers, firstly as a clerk and latterly as an accountant. An accomplished 'cellist, he gave lessons in his spare time. He played in the 1895 Wolverhampton performance of The Black Knight and wrote to Elgar in December 1894 asking to borrow a 'cello part.
Alfred Reynolds (1827-1901), a musician, knew the Elgars through the Worcester shop. He married Elizabeth (Bessie) Windsor Woulds, daughter of James Woulds, an artist, in 1855. Their daughter Eleanor Jane Reynolds (1856-1944) kept in touch with Elgar right up until the 1930s. When Elgar visited London in January 1889 he and Alfred went to the exhibition of paintings of the Royal House of Stuart at the New Gallery.