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The "Pomp and Circumstance Marches" (full title "Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches"), Op. 39 are a series of marches for orchestra composed by Sir Edward Elgar.

About the music commonly known as "Pomp and Circumstance" in the United States, see March No. 1 below.

Contents

The title

The title is taken from Act III, Scene iii of Shakespeare's Othello:

Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th'ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!"[1]

But also, on the score of the first march, Elgar set as a motto for the whole set of marches a verse from Lord de Tabley's poem The March of Glory[2] which begins

Like a proud music that draws men on to die
Madly upon the spears in martial ecstasy,
A measure that sets heaven in all their veins
   And iron in their hands.
I hear the Nation march
Beneath her ensign as an eagle's wing;
O'er shield and sheeted targe
The banners of my faith most gaily swing;
Moving to victory with solemn noise,
With worship and with conquest, and the voice of myriads.

proclaiming the "shows of things": the naïve assumption that the splendid show of military pageantry –"Pomp"– has no connection with the drabness and terror —"Circumstance"— of actual warfare. The first four marches were all written before the events of World War I shattered that belief, and the styles wars were written about spurned the false romance of the battle-song. Elgar understood this.

The marches

The Pomp and Circumstance marches are

  • March No. 1 in D (1901)
  • March No. 2 in A minor (1901)
  • March No. 3 in C minor (1904)
  • March No. 4 in G (1907)
  • March No. 5 in C (1930)
  • March No. 6 in G minor (written as sketches, elaborated by Anthony Payne in 2005–06)

The first five were all published by Boosey & Co. as Elgar's Op. 39, and each of the marches is dedicated to a particular musical friend of Elgar's.

March No. 1 in D

Dedication

March No. 1 was composed in 1901 and dedicated "To my friend Alfred E. Rodewald and the members of the Liverpool Orchestral Society".

Instrumentation

The instrumentation is: 2 piccolos (2nd ad lib.), 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, bass clarinet in A, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in F, 2 cornets in A, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani (3), percussion (bass drum & cymbals, triangle, side drum, jingles), 2 harps, organ,[3] and strings.

History

The best known of the set, it had its premiere, along with the more reserved second March, played by the Liverpool Orchestral Society conducted by Alfred Rodewald, in Liverpool on 19 October 1901. Both marches were played two days later at a London Promenade Concert in the Queen's Hall London, conducted by Henry Wood, with March No. 1 played second, and the audience "... rose and yelled .. the one and only time in the history of the Promenade concerts that an orchestral item was accorded a double encore."[4]

The Trio contains the tune known as "Land of Hope and Glory". In 1902 the tune was re-used, in modified form, for the Land of hope and glory section of his Coronation Ode for King Edward VII. The words were further modified to fit the original tune, and the result has since become a fixture at the Last Night of the Proms, and an English sporting anthem.

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In the United States, the Trio section "Land of Hope and Glory" of March No. 1 is sometimes known simply as "Pomp and Circumstance" or as "The Graduation March", and is played as the processional tune at virtually all high school and college graduation ceremonies.[5] It was first played at such a ceremony on 28 June 1905, at Yale University, where the Professor of Music Samuel Sanford had invited his friend Elgar to attend commencement and receive an honorary Doctorate of Music. Elgar accepted, and Sanford made certain he was the star of the proceedings, engaging the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the College Choir, the Glee Club, the music faculty members, and New York musicians to perform two parts from Elgar's oratorio The Light of Life and, as the graduates and officials marched out, "Pomp and Circumstance" March No. 1. Elgar repaid the compliment by dedicating the Introduction and Allegro to Sanford later that year.[6] The tune soon became de rigueur at American graduations, but then as a processional at the opening of the ceremony, instead of the original recessional by Yale.[7][8]

Description

March No. 1 opens with an introduction marked Allegro, con molto fuoco[9] which is astonishingly innovative,[10] The introduction leads to a new theme: strong pairs of beats alternating with short notes, and a bass which persistently clashes with the tune. The bass tuba and full brass is held back until the section is repeated by the full orchestra. A little rhythmic pattern is played by the strings, then repeated high and low in the orchestra before the section is concluded by a chromatic upward scale from the woodwind. The whole of this lively march section is repeated. The bridging section between this and the well-known Trio has rhythmic chords from the brass punctuating high held notes from the wind and strings, before a fanfare from trumpets and trombones leads into the theme with which the march started. There are a few single notes that quieten, ending with a single quiet tap from side drum and cymbal accompanied by all the bassoons.[11] The famous lyrical Land of Hope and Glory Trio follows (in the subdominant key of G), played softly (by violins, four horns and two clarinets) before its strong repetition by the full orchestra including two harps. What follows is a repetition of what has been heard before, including a fuller statement of the Trio (in the 'home' key of D) where the orchestra is joined by organ as well as the two harps. The march ends, not with the big tune, but with a short section which has another brief reminder of the brisk opening march, sweeping the piece to a resounding end.

March No. 2 in A minor

Dedication

March No. 2 was composed in 1901 and dedicated "To my friend Granville Bantock". It was first performed at the same concert as March No. 1.

Instrumentation

The instrumentation is: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, bass clarinet in A, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in F, 2 cornets in A, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani (3), percussion (2 side drums,[12] triangle, glockenspiel & jingles, bass drum & cymbals), and strings.

Description

The second is the shortest and most simply constructed of the marches. The composer Charles Villiers Stanford is said to have preferred this march to the first, and thought this the finest of all the marches. After a loud call to attention from the brass, a simple staccato theme, tense and repetitive, is played staccato by the strings, which is gradually joined by other instruments and builds up to a decisive climax. This section is repeated. The second theme, confidently played by horns and clarinets, is one which was sketched by Elgar a few years before: this is developed and ends with flourishes from the strings and brass joined by the glockenspiel. The opening staccato theme returns, concluded by a quiet swirling bass passage, which leads into the Trio section (in the tonic major key of A) which consists of a delightfully simple tune in thirds played by the woodwind (flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons), answered conclusively by the strings and brass. This Trio section is repeated, and the march concluded with a brilliant little coda, which includes a drum roll on the snare drum, a shattering chord in A Minor, briefly played by horns, and followed by a final cadence.

March No. 3 in C minor

Dedication

March No. 3 was completed in November 1904 and published in 1905. It was dedicated "To my friend Ivor Atkins". It was first performed on 8 March 1905, in the Queen's Hall, London, conducted by the composer.

Instrumentation

The instrumentation is: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B, bass clarinet in B, 3 bassoons,[13] contrabassoon, 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in B, 2 cornets in B, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani (3), percussion (tenor drum, side drum, bass drum & cymbals), and strings.

Description

March No. 3 differs from the others in its opening mood, which is deliberately solemn. It begins with a dark subdued quick march led by low clarinets, three bassoons and the horns (with drum-beats inserted between the notes of the tune), before a vigorous theme (with brass alone at the first beats), erupts from the full orchestra. The dark theme re-appears, is then re-started boldly, then ended abruptly. The central section commences with perky tune played by a solo clarinet with simple string accompaniment, which is followed by another of Elgar's noble tunes played by the strings of the orchestra. All the themes re-appear and there is the final section which ends abruptly.

March No. 4 in G

March No. 4 is as upbeat and ceremonial as No. 1, containing another big tune in the central Trio section.

Dedication

March No. 4 was completed on 7 June 1907, and dedicated "To my friend Dr. G. Robertson Sinclair, Hereford".[14] It was first performed on 24 August 1907, in the Queen's Hall, London, conducted by the composer.

Instrumentation

The instrumentation is: piccolo (with 3rd flute), 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B, bass clarinet in B, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in A, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani (3), percussion (side drum, bass drum & cymbals), 2 harps, and strings.

History

The Trio was used by Elgar in a song called "The King's Way" which he wrote, to his wife's words, in celebration of the opening of an important new London street called Kingsway.

In World War II, No. 4 also acquired words: a patriotic poem by A. P. Herbert with the refrain beginning "All men must be free" was used as "Song of Liberty".[15]

Description

The march has an opening section consisting mainly of two-bar rhythmic phrases which are repeated in various forms, and a lyrical Trio constructed like the famous "Land of Hope and Glory" trio of March No. 1.

The first eight bars of the march is played by the full orchestra with the melody played by the violas[16] and upper woodwind. Both harps play from the beginning, while the cellos, double basses and timpani contribute a simple bass figure. The bass clarinet, contrabassoon, trombones and tuba are held "in reserve" for the repeat, when the first violins join the violas with the tune. There are subdued fanfares from the brass interrupted by little flourishes from the strings before the opening march is repeated. There is pause, then a little section which starts forcefully but quietens, leading into the Trio. The Trio follows the pattern of March No. 1, with the melody (in the subdominant key of C) played by clarinet, horn and violins. The violins start the Trio tune on the lowest note they can play, an "open" G-string, which gives a recognisable "twang" to this one note, and they are directed to play the passage "sul G"[17] on the same string, for the sake of the tone-colour, and the accompaniment is from the harps, low strings and bassoons. The grand tune is repeated, as we expect, by the full orchestra; the opening march section returns; the grand tune is repeated again in the "home" key of G major; and the last word is had by a re-statement of the opening rhythmic patterns. The march prepares the audience for its end as surely as a train pulling into a station, with the violins, violas and cellos ending on their resonant "open" G.

March No. 5 in C

Dedication

March No. 5 was composed in 1930, much later than the others, and dedicated "To my friend Dr. Percy C. Hull, Hereford". Its first public performance was on 20 September 1930 in a Queens Hall concert conducted by Sir Henry Wood, though it had been recorded two days earlier in the Kingsway Hall, London, conducted by Elgar himself in spite of his poor health.[18]

Instrumentation

The instrumentation is: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B, bass clarinet in B, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in B, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani (3), percussion (side drum, bass drum & cymbals), and strings.

Description

March No. 5 is brilliantly orchestrated and extrovert in mood. Without introduction, its opening episode is extended with enormous confidence and proceeds directly into the Trio section, which if it had words set to it, could have been one of Elgar's most memorable tunes. The Trio starts quietly in a similar way to the introduction of his First Symphony: just a moving bass line and a tune, also in the same key (A). The tune is re-stated strongly, as we expect, then developed. The re-statement of the opening employs the same instruments of the orchestra, but is this time started as soft as possible for just four bars before a quick crescendo restores its spirit to as it was in the beginning. There is more development before a big return of the Trio theme, in the home key of C, and a triumphant ending which might bring to mind the conclusion of Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King.

March No. 6 in G minor

History

Elgar left sketches for a sixth Pomp and Circumstance march, to be the final work in the set. In 2005, these were sent by the lawyer for the Elgar Will Trust in a bundle to English composer Anthony Payne. Also included was an article titled "Circumstantial Evidence" by Elgar authority Christopher Kent from the August 1997 in the Musical Times explaining the sketches. One idea in the sketches was helpfully marked by the composer "jolly good". Kent believed that Elgar’s compositional thoughts and time were by then engaged with the Third Symphony and The Spanish Lady, and that the main theme for the march was "unpromising".

Payne determined there was not enough in the sketches to complete the march, but fortunately three pages of score in Elgar’s handwriting were discovered at the Royal School of Church Music Colles Library marked "P&C 6". In 2006, the score and sketches were turned into a performing version. Payne noted in the program notes that "Nowhere else in the Pomp and Circumstance marches does Elgar combine compound and duple metres in this way". Payne concluded the piece with a brief allusion to the first Pomp and Circumstance March.

The world premiere was on August 2, 2006 with Andrew Davis conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra at The Proms at Royal Albert Hall. The first recording was by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Richard Hickox.

Instrumentation

The instrumentation is: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B, bass clarinet in B, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in B, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani (4), percussion (side drum, cymbals, bass drum, jingles, glockenspiel), and strings.

Arrangements

For piano solo: The first four marches were arranged by Adolf Schmid and March No. 5 by Victor Hely-Hutchinson.

For piano duo: March No. 1 was arranged by Adolf Schmid.[19]

For organ: March No. 1 was arranged by Edwin H. Lemare and March No. 4 was arranged by G. R. Sinclair.[14]

For military band: The first four marches were arranged by M. Retford and March No. 5 by T. Conway Brown.[20]

For brass band: March No. 1 was arranged (transposed to B) by J. Ord Hume.[21]

Media

  • Newsreel film of Elgar speaking, then conducting the Trio of Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 at the opening of EMI's Abbey Road studios, 12 November 1931

Recordings

References

  • Kennedy, Michael (1987). Portrait of Elgar (Third edition ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0192840177. 
  • Maine, Basil (1933). Edward Elgar: His Life and Works, vol. 2: Works. London: G. Bell & Sons Ltd.. 
  • McVeagh, Diana M. (2007). Elgar the Music Maker. London: Boydell Press. ISBN 9781843832959. 
  • Moore, Jerrold N. (1984). Edward Elgar: a creative life. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0193154471. 
  • Wood, Henry, My Life of Music (London, 1938)

Notes

  1. ^ "Othello, Act III". William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. http://www.william-shakespeare.info/act3-script-text-othello.htm. Retrieved 23 May 2007. 
  2. ^ Maine: Works pp. 196–7
  3. ^ The Organ appears for the final statement of the grand tune
  4. ^ Henry Wood, My Life of Music p. 154
  5. ^ Pomp and Circumstance NPR Music
  6. ^ James Beswick Whitehead, Elgar's English Twilight, an Idyll
  7. ^ Elgar Foundation (8 December 2006). "Why Americans graduate to Elgar". Elgar – His Music. http://www.elgar.org/3pomp-b.htm. Retrieved 7 June 2007. 
  8. ^ Hoffman, Miles (27 May 2003). "Pomp and Circumstance; familiar standard marches ahead of competitors". Morning Edition. National Public Radio. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1273081. Retrieved 21 January 2009. 
  9. ^ Allegro, con molto fuoco literally "Lively, with much fire"
  10. ^ This is played by the full orchestra. Unconventionally, the music starts on the second half of the second beat of each bar, accented, in a key (remote from the march's 'home' key of D) which resembles a favourite military band key of B but found to be in the Lydian mode on E, the same little motif proceeding down in the bass and up in the treble voices half a bar later, all punctuated by chords on the second beats. Modern music-goers know the march, but this effect must have amazed audiences a hundred years ago.
  11. ^ This single note from side drum and cymbal, off the beat, accompanied by bassoons and contrabassoon is perhaps Elgar's tribute to Beethoven, resembling the Turkish music in the finale of his Choral Symphony
  12. ^ The second side drum is ad. lib.
  13. ^ The instrumentation is unusual in having three bassoons instead of the usual two, and Elgar directs in the full score that "the tone of the fagotti must be allowed to preponderate...".
  14. ^ a b Dr. George Robertson Sinclair was then the energetic organist of Hereford Cathedral and G.R.S. of the Enigma Variations
  15. ^ elgar.org. "Pomp and Circumstance Marches nos. 1–5, Op. 39". Elgar – His Music. http://www.elgar.org/3pomp.htm. Retrieved 20 May 2007. 
  16. ^ One might expect the tune from the violins, with the violas playing a lower part
  17. ^ sul G = on the G-string
  18. ^ Moore, p. 786
  19. ^ Adolf Schmid (1868–1958)
  20. ^ Thomas Conway Brown
  21. ^ Lieutenant J. Ord Hume L.F.

External links


Simple English

The "Pomp and Circumstance Marches" are a group of five marches for orchestra composed by Sir Edward Elgar. Their full title is: "Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches"). Elgar started to write a sixth march, but never finished it.

The first of the marches is especially famous and has a tune which is one of the best known tunes in Britain. It is often sung to the words " Land of Hope and Glory".

Contents

The title

The title “Pomp and Circumstance”is taken from Act III, Scene iii of Shakespeare's Othello:

Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, th'ear-piercing fife, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!"[1]

The marches

The Pomp and Circumstance marches are

  • March No. 1 in D (1901)
  • March No. 2 in A minor (1901)
  • March No. 3 in C minor (1904)
  • March No. 4 in G (1907)
  • March No. 5 in C (1930)
  • March No. 6 in G minor (written as sketches, elaborated by Anthony Payne in 2005–06)

The first five were all published by Boosey & Co. as Elgar's Op. 39. Elgar dedicated each march to one of his musical friends.

Each march takes about five minutes to play.[2]

" March No. 1 in D " is the best known of the set. It was completed, together with March No. 2, in 1901, soon after the first performance of his “Dream of Gerontius” which had been badly performed. Elgar dedicated it to Alfred Rodewald who conducted its first performance with the Liverpool Orchestra Society on 19 October 1901. Both marches were played two days later at a Promenade Concert in the Queen's Hall London, conducted by Henry Wood. Elgar knew that the audience would love the big tune in the middle of March No. 1, so that march was played second. Henry Wood tells in his autobiography that “the people simply rose and yelled. I had to play it again – with the same result; in fact, they refused to let me get on with the programme….merely to restore order, I played the march a third time.” [3]

The next year King Edward VII was due to be crowned in June. The King liked the big tune, and wanted it performed with words at the coronation. So Elgar used it at the end of his Coronation Ode with words by A.C. Benson. The coronation did not take place because the king became ill just before the big day. "Land of Hope and Glory" was sung in June 1902 by Clara Butt, and the whole Ode was performed in Sheffield four months later.

In Britain "Land of Hope and Glory" is sung every year at the Last Night of the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.

The words are:

  • Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
  • How shall we extol thee who are born of thee?
  • Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;
  • God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

In the United States the tune is sometimes known as "Pomp and Circumstance" or as "The Graduation March", and is played as the processional tune at high school and college graduation ceremonies,[4].

" March No. 2 in A minor " was dedicated to the composer Granville Bantock". It was first performed at the same concert as March No. 1. It the shortest and simplest of the marches.

" March No. 3 in C minor " was finished in November 1904 and published in 1905. It was dedicated to Ivor Atkins". It was first performed on 8 March 1905, in the Queen's Hall, London, conducted by the composer. It sounds quite serious at first, then it becomes very energetic.

" March No. 4 in G " is very grand, like No. 1. Again there is a big tune in the middle. It was dedicated to Dr. G. Robertson Sinclair, the organist of Hereford Cathedral. It was first performed on 24 August 1907, in the Queen's Hall, London, conducted by Elgar himself.

" March No. 5 in C ", composed in 1930, was dedicated to Percy Hull, a friend from Hereford. It has some brilliant orchestral effects.

" March No. 6 in G minor " was started, but when Elgar died there were only sketches left. The musician Anthony Payne recently discovered some more sketches for it in the library of the Royal School of Church Music. He finished composing in the way that Elgar might have done, and the work was first performed on 2 August 2006 with Andrew Davis conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra at The Proms at Royal Albert Hall.

References

  • Wood, Henry, My Life of Music (London, 1938)
  • Programme note by Wendy Thompson for Last Night of the Proms 1995

Notes

  1. "Othello, Act III". William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. http://www.william-shakespeare.info/act3-script-text-othello.htm. Retrieved 23 May 2007. 
  2. Boosey & Hawkes full score
  3. Henry Wood, My Life of Music p. 154
  4. Pomp and Circumstance NPR Music







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