Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. . He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924. Although he is often regarded as a typically English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe. He felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially. 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.
These two pieces were written in 1902, when Elgar was approaching the peak of his fame and popularity. Unusually for Elgar they were not written to any commission. Michael Kennedy suggests that they may have been retrieved from the unused material for a symphony celebrating General Gordon which Elgar had been working on since 1898. They are not complete symphonic movements, but it was Elgar's practice to work in small sections and then put them together into a whole.
The orchestral score and parts were originally published by Joseph Williams Ltd. (London) in 1902, then in 1911 by Schott & Co. with the title "Enfants d'un Rêve" and the translation below this "(Dream-Children)".
The first performance was at the Queen's Hall on 4 September 1902, conducted by Arthur W Payne.
They are "dream sketches" based upon the writings of the essayist Charles Lamb (1775-1834), and the text of what inspired them is given in the First Comment.
The arrangement is by Ivor Atkins (1869-1953), who was organist of Worcester Cathedral and friend of Elgar.
They are fine arrangements, but I agonized over details, which really need the orchestra to achieve the subtlety, etc.
The score is attached below, as well as photos or paintings of Edward Elgar, Charles Lamb and Ivor Atkins.