Composer Edward Elgar's links with music store HMV

Malvern Gazette: Edward Elgar opened the flagship HMV shop Edward Elgar opened the flagship HMV shop

THE first ever HMV store was opened by Worcestershire’s favourite son Edward Elgar who enjoyed a long association with the music store chain.

Chris Bennett, supervisor at the Elgar Birthplace Museum in Lower Broadheath, explained that the world-renowned composer was seen as one of the company’s star performers.

It was a happier time for the business, then called the Gramophone Company, as it opened the doors to its flagship Oxford Street store.

Elgar played an important role in the history of music recording and advances in the technology with the business sending him players for his approval when a significant model had been created.

And sadly it is new technology that seems to be the root of HMV’s problems with people turning to the internet to download records and buy goods.

The music chain called in administrators Deloitte on Monday evening and a new buyer is currently being sought.

Mr Bennett said: “Elgar was probably the first composer to realise the benefit of this new industry of recorded music and was probably the first major composer to do so.

“And the recordings are still available now having been transferred from original 78-rpm discs to LPs to cassettes and now onto CDs and downloads.”

“He was quite forward thinking in many ways and had he been around today could very well be downloading music himself and might have been one of the reasons the high street shops have been disappearing.”

The association between Elgar and HMV began back in 1914 when he first recorded in the HMV studios.

Elgar was also at the 1931 opening of the Gramophone Company’s studios in London - the infamous Abbey Road Studios - conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

But the potential loss of HMV from Worcester’s High Street is something that Mr Bennett said would be sad to see happen.

“For those that love music, HMV has been one of the main names in recorded music in this country so it would be a great shame to see it disappear.”

But while fans of Elgar may soon be unable to buy his recordings from HMV they will still be able to get copies from the museum’s shop.

The museum also houses his HMV gramophone from the mid-1920s and some of his original shellac records.

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