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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 6 in G minor

The sketches of Edward Elgar completed and orchestrated by Anthony Payne
Full Score
Duration: 9 Minutes
53pp
large study format
Performance materials available on hire
£12.99
Boosey & Hawkes ISBN 978 0 85162 547 8



Elgar completed five Pomp and Circumstance marches. The first four appeared 1901-07. The fifth came out four years short of his death. Sketches of a sixth survived and came down to posterity through the Elgar Will Trust. However when three manuscript pages marked P&C6 surfaced at the Royal School of Church Music library Anthony Payne thought a completion might be possible.

Payne, a composer in his own right of music with a radical stamp, had already realised into a finished form Elgar’s Third Symphony. It has already had many performances, three recordings and has drawn down no little controversy. Clearly controversy exercised few fears for him and for the publishers Boosey & Hawkes. The fact is that the world’s fascination, admiration and love for Elgar’s music has tended to transcend any wishes the composer may have had. The wonder is that no-one has as yet done the same for the Vaughan Williams Cello Concerto, the Moeran Second Symphony, Sibelius’s Eighth and Finzi’s Piano Concerto.

The quick march in ¾ from the three pages of MS was filled out and became the main section. The British Library’s restlessly ambivalent theme followed on from the main theme. There was a fine nobilmente trio to be capitalised upon and developed and in the finale Payne introduces a snatch of P&C No. 1. I recall hearing a radio arts feature programme about the march and Payne did not disguise the substantial amount of speculative original work he had had to do.

Anthony Payne’s introduction – on which I have drawn - is included and there are translations into French and German.

The march was premiered at the BBC Proms on 2 August 2006 at the Royal Albert Hall by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by the dedicatee Sir Andrew Davis. In fact Anthony Payne has inscribed it to Davis ‘with admiration and gratitude’.

As yet there is no recording but aspiring concert promoters, orchestral managements and record companies would do well to give this overture length march a close look. How long before we see a recording presenting all Six P&Cs?

Rob Barnett


 


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