This film is basically in the same format as Ken Russell's acclaimed "Elgar", made for the BBC in 1962: namely, shot silent-style, with the action accompanied and illustrated by music. In this case, however, it is more explicitly a case of individual pieces, each with an accompanying tableau, rather than a seemingly continuous narrative -- at least in part this is because the biography we have here is basically the 'out-takes' from the 1960s version, being the elements that were considered unsuitable for public broadcast to the audiences of the day: implied affairs with young women, and the composer's eccentricities. And where several of the featured pieces are concerned, the director does appear to have run out of inspiration for on-screen events before the end of the music chosen, which can produce tedious results. All in all it is not quite so successful as its predecessor, but it's still enjoyable.
My favourite section, enchanting in both visuals and sound, was the sequence illustrating the Elgars' honeymoon on the Isle of Wight; we also see a surprisingly mischievous side to Sir Edward in several sections, including a sequence where he and a pompous Edwardian friend are busy plaiting garlands to bedeck a statue of Beethoven, and one where his wife is busy arranging his formal costume and medal-ribbon, and he suddenly draws his ridiculous dress sword and fakes a few swashbuckling passes as they both laugh. The 'fairies' and 'Windflower' sequences are definitely a bit monotonous, and the most tedious of all is the one that consists of nothing but the newly-married couple standing together behind a window obscured by rain -- they're supposed to be indicating their love for each other, but this is done far more effectively in more active scenarios elsewhere. Otherwise the absence of dialogue is often an advantage, as (very much in the style of Russell's favoured 20s cinema) we can gather from the body language exactly the flavour of what is being said, without the need for stilted 'reconstructions' trying too hard to be period.
The director's affection for his subject remains palpable throughout.