Pomp and Circumstance Marches Op.39 (includes 'Land of Hope and Glory')
Edward Elgar


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The third highest of Elgar's 12 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This peaked at number 45 in 2007, the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth.

For someone who claimed to pride himself on not being a part of the establishment, Elgar loved many of the trappings that came with it. A huge fan of chivalry in all its forms, the 'pomp and circumstance' of his marches' titles comes from Shakespeare's Othello (the 'pride pomp and circumstance of glorious war' from act III, scene 3).

In his lifetime, there were five marches, with the first four, including the most famous first the 'Land of Hope and Glory' march coming between 1901 and 1907, long before the harsh realities of the First World War changed many British people's attitudes to the pomp of war. Nevertheless, a late straggler, the fifth, followed in 1930, and the composer Anthony Payne completed a sixth from Elgar's notes in 2006.