The Black Knight (Op.25) is a secular cantata for chorus and orchestra composed in 1893. It takes its text from a poem from H. W. Longfellow, which is itself a translation of a poem in German by Ludwig Uhland. The choral parts act as a backing to the orchestra, showing how Elgar was developing his orchestration techniques and talents, although this development went unnoticed until the sudden success of the Enigma Variations in 1899.
Edward Elgar (1857-1934) is one of England’s best-known and most-loved composers. He was self-taught as composer, coming from outside the musical and social establishment, which allowed his music to be fresh and unencumbered.