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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66676
Recording details: June 1993
Turku (Abo) Cathedral, Finland
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Paul Niederberger
Release date: February 1994
Total duration: 5 minutes 47 seconds

'An organ, the mere sound of which can send shivers down the spine … breathtaking … another splendid disc as thrilling and truly spectacular as they, or anyone else for that matter, have so far produced' (Gramophone)

Pomp and Circumstance March No 4 in G major, Op 39

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The most famous of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Marches is the first of the five, which has the melody ‘Land of hope and glory’, but the fourth contains a tune which lingers in the memory and arouses deep patriotic emotions to a similar extent.

The marches were composed during the first decade of the twentieth century, the Edwardian era when the British Empire enjoyed its greatest spread of colour in the world atlas. Elgar once declared that part of the role he saw for himself as a composer was to write music which stirred the popular imagination, tunes to accompany pageantry, and to have, as Shakespeare had Othello say, ‘all the quality, pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war.’

Elgar himself conducted the first performance of the fourth Pomp and Circumstance March in 1907. The famous nobilmente melody of the central trio was a product of the same year, but other sections had their origins in music he wrote for a family play (The Wand of Youth) when he was only twelve years old. He dedicated the piece to George Robertson Sinclair, organist of Hereford Cathedral at the time, and one of the conductors associated with the Three Choirs Festival where choral works by Elgar and his contemporaries were performed.

It was not the first piece to be dedicated to Sinclair, although the eleventh of the ‘Enigma’ Variations (‘G.R.S.’) has more to do with the antics of the organist’s bulldog than the man himself. Sinclair arranged his friend Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March so that he could enjoy it in the organ loft as well as in the concert hall.

from notes by Ian Carson © 1994

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