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Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 in D major, Op 39 No 1


When Elgar's original orchestral version of this march was first performed in the Royal Albert Hall, Sir Henry Wood, the conductor, had to repeat it twice, if only to restore order, so tumultuous was the reception it received. The following year Edwin Lemare, one of the most dazzling organists of the age, arranged it for organ. That was in 1902, coronation year, and this march has come to be associated with the splendour, the pomp, and the greatness with which the British Empire was bedecked at its peak. It was apparently the newly acceeded King Edward himself who suggested that words should be put to the trio—the middle part—of this march. It was a tune which Elgar confessed he had 'carried in his pocket' for twenty years, a tune mature enough to carry the words 'Land of Hope and Glory'.

from notes by Ian Carson © 1988


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