In 1955, the reference book The Record Guide wrote of the Edwardian background during the height of Edward Elgar’s career:

Boastful self-confidence, emotional vulgarity, material extravagance, a ruthless philistinism expressed in tasteless architecture and every kind of expensive yet hideous accessory: such features of a late phase of Imperial England are faithfully reflected in Elgar’s larger works and are apt to prove indigestible today. But if it is difficult to overlook the bombastic, the sentimental, and the trivial elements in his music, the effort to do so should nevertheless be made, for the sake of the many inspired pages, the power and eloquence and lofty pathos, of Elgar’s best work. … Anyone who doubts the fact of Elgar’s genius should take the first opportunity of hearing The Dream of Gerontius, which remains his masterpiece, as it is his largest and perhaps most deeply felt work; the symphonic study, Falstaff; the Introduction and Allegro for Strings; the Enigma Variations; and the Violoncello Concerto.