Jerrold Northrop Moore obituary


The musicologist Jerrold Northrop Moore, who has died aged 90, did a lot to chronicle the profession and works of Edward Elgar. On the centre of his publications had been his encyclopedic biography Elgar: A Inventive Life (1984) and 4 volumes of the composer’s edited correspondence (1987-90).

A US citizen, Jerry was drawn to Elgar’s music whereas nonetheless a scholar. When he first visited Britain in 1954, he went to the Three Choirs pageant in Worcester, and met the composer’s daughter, Carice.

Earlier than a second go to 5 years later, he wrote to ask if she would assist him meet and interview shut acquaintances of Elgar: the soprano Agnes Nicholls, who sang within the first efficiency of his oratorio The Kingdom; Percy Hull, dedicatee of the Pomp and Circumstance March No 5; Dora Penny, the Dorabella of the tenth of the Enigma Variations; two of the 4 musical Harrison sisters, the cellist Beatrice and violinist Margaret; and his nieces Could and Madge Grafton, who acted as his private assistants.

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This initiative gave rise to his first e book, Elgar: A Life in Pictures (1972). He later returned to his two visits of the Nineteen Fifties in a memoir, Buddy of the Associates (2023), accompanying accounts of his conferences with pictures that he took himself. Elgar on File (1974) tracked the composer’s pioneering contribution to the embryonic gramophone trade by means of conducting recordings of his personal orchestral works. In passing, it additionally revealed his ambition in later years to realize recognition as a recorded pianist.

Certainly, Jerry had a deep curiosity in early sound recordings normally, developed throughout 9 years from 1961 as Yale College’s curator of historic sound recordings. A Voice in Time (1976) was a short biography of The Gramophone Firm’s pioneering engineer and producer Fred Gaisberg in opposition to a background of technical developments within the music trade within the Nineteen Twenties and 30s. Sound Revolutions (1999) supplied a fuller biography of Gaisberg.

Jerry’s admiration of Adrian Boult discovered voice in Music and Associates (1979), the conductor’s correspondence with the composers whose works he carried out. Jerry went on to have a good time considered one of them in Vaughan Williams: A Life in Pictures (1992). His curiosity within the visible arts additionally led to The Inexperienced Fuse: Pastoral Imaginative and prescient in English Artwork 1820-2000 (2006), a set of brief biographies of pastoral artists, and FL Griggs: The Structure of Desires (2008), a biography of the artist, etcher and illustrator.

Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Jerrold was the son of Lettie (Letitia, nee Northrop) and Harold Moore, who labored in insurance coverage. The household had shut ties to the Confederacy within the American civil struggle. Lucius Northrop, an antecedent on his mom’s aspect, had served as commissary normal, liable for offering meals and different assist to the southern troops. In his biography Accomplice Commissary Basic, Jerry supplied an in-depth research of the availability issues confronted by the Confederacy.

At Swarthmore School, Pennsylvania, Jerry studied English literature, performed the organ and developed the curiosity in Elgar that took him to Worcester after a summer season course in London. After gaining a PhD at Yale in 1958, he spent three years on the workers of Rochester College, New York state, earlier than taking over the curatorship at Yale; however when an anticipated sabbatical was unexpectedly declined, he left the world of formal academia and moved completely to Britain in 1970 to pursue a profession writing about his personal particular pursuits, settling in Worcestershire.

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Past the mornings that he spent writing, Jerry’s best pleasure lay within the books he owned, nearly all of them giant shiny coffee-table books purchased after they’d been remaindered. His prized possessions included high quality facsimiles of the Lindisfarne gospels and The E book of Kells, and uncommon portfolios of engravings of scenes from Wagner operas by Franz Stassen.

His attic was filled with books, and piles started to build up on the ground and furnishings in his sitting room till it required navy precision for visitors to barter the obstacles to achieve their allotted seats. When his upright piano went, its place was quickly stuffed with books.

He used his center title to keep away from confusion with the piano accompanist Gerald Moore. Although I had first encountered him 4 a long time in the past, I received to know him higher within the mid-2000s when organising Elgar Works, a music publishing charity tasked to take the Elgar Full Version by means of to its logical end result, publication having been suspended in 1993. Jerry was inclined to insist on involvement when no assist was wanted, however the absolute precedence of his personal work made this insistence straightforward to deflect.

Conferences at Elgar’s birthplace, The Firs, exterior Worcester, required solely a minor detour to go to Jerry in Broadway, and I labored with him on Buddy of the Associates.

His brother, Malcolm, died final 12 months, and he’s survived by a niece, Rebecca, and two nephews, Learn and George.


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