If you've ever attended a graduation ceremony, or even seen one on television, the writer of this week's highlighted document will be familiar to you. Sir Edward Elgar was a British composer whose Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D has been played at North American high school and university graduation ceremonies since 1905 when it was performed at Yale University:
Of course that's not the only thing that Elgar is known for. He was wildly popular with early 20th century audiences, and is now regarded as a preeminent figure in the pantheon of British composers. Elgar was a Catholic, and one of his masterpieces was The Dream of Gerontius, which was based on a poem by Cardinal Newman.
In 1925 Elgar wrote a letter in reply to J. Campbell McInnes, a British singer who moved to Toronto in 1919. McInnes had written to Elgar to ask him to visit Toronto as part of his efforts to improve the state of local Church music. Unfortunately, there's no evidence to suggest that Elgar actually accepted the invitation, but we are pleased to have the signature of such an influential composer here in the archives:
|Letter from Sir Edward Elgar to J. Campbell McInnes
December 16, 1925
Archbishop McNeil Fonds
We have featured the signatures of many interesting historical figures in The Archivist's Pencil, but this one is special for certain music geeks amongst the archivists.