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Personal Friendships, Professional Manoeuvres: Edward Elgar in Russia before and after 1917

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-38
Number of pages31
JournalSlavonic and East European Review
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jan 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Apr 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2019
DatePublished (current) - Jan 2019


Edward Elgar's reception in Russia has been an obscure chapter in both Soviet and imperial Russian musical life. Due largely to a specific combination of circumstances, but also to questions of reputation, taste and fashion, Elgar never became popular enough in pre-revolutionary Russian concert life to survive the upheaval of revolution. This article examines the continuities linking Russian Elgar reception before and after 1917 to show that, despite having prominent supporters, key works like the First Symphony and Enigma Variations were coolly received at all points of Russian musical history: David Oistrakh's performance of the Violin Concerto in 1946 marked the end of Anglo-Soviet cultural exchange, after which any opportunity of performing Elgar in Soviet Russia once more fell into abeyance.



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