Music Programme Notes
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1
Sir Edward Elgar OM GCVO
âIâve got a tune that will knock âem - knock âem flat,âÂ Elgar announced to his friend Dora Penny, Dorabella of the Enigma Variations, in May 1901. It was a tune that was to become very familiar to a large number of people on both sides of the Atlantic, but for quite different reasons.
The tune had begun life as the trio section for Elgarâs March in D major early in the year. Â The D major march became the first in a series of five marches that Elgar named Pomp and Circumstance, taking their title from a speech in Act 3 of Shakespeareâs Othello:Â
Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!
The Pomp and Circumstance March No1 in D major was given its first performance, along with a second march in A minor, on 19 October 1901 at Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool with the Liverpool Orchestral Society Orchestra conducted by Elgar.Â
The great acclaim afforded the work there was surpassed at the London premiĂ¨re three days later. The conductor, Henry Wood, recorded:Â
âThe people simply rose and yelled. I had to play it again - with the same result; in fact, they refused to let me go on with the programme. After considerable delay, [and] merely to restore order, I played the march a third time. And that, I may say, was the one and only time in the history of the Promenade concerts that such an orchestral item was accorded a double encore.â
While listening to the tune in November 1901, the great contralto, Clara Butt asked Elgar if he could write something like it for her.Â âYou shall have that one my dearâÂ was Elgarâs reply. He then came up with the idea of using the trio tune as the finale of his Coronation Ode, which Clara Butt planned to perform with a full chorus and orchestra to celebrate the crowning of King Edward VII. For the words, he turned to Arthur Christopher Benson who submitted his first draft of âLand of Hope and Gloryâ on 10 December 1901.
Although the Coronation Ode was completed by 1 April 1902, its intended premiĂ¨re on 30 June had to be abandoned because The King was taken ill. Meanwhile, with an eye to the potential sales of the vocal version, Elgarâs publishers, Boosey and Hawkes, asked Elgar to produce a modified adaptation, and this was duly performed for the first time by Clara Butt on 21 June 1902.Â
In Britain today the Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 is inexorably linked with the words âLand of Hope and Gloryâ.
Elgar himself conducted four recorded performances of Pomp and Circumstance March No.1. Â The first was during his second acoustic recording session, on 26 June 1914, just weeks before the start of World War 1. Â The march was severely cut to a timing of just over four minutes and began with the trio tune so that none of its passages were cut. The work was played by some 30-odd musicians from various London orchestras, recruited for the session by The Gramophone Company. On the record label, they were dubbed the âSymphony Orchestraâ.
Elgarâs first complete recording took place during his first session with the new electrical recording system, on 27 April 1926 at the Queenâs Hall. The players were the Royal Albert Hall Orchestra.
On 12 November 1931, Elgar performed the trio by itself with the London Symphony Orchestra for the opening of EMIâs Abbey Road studios. The performance was captured on film by Pathe for release on a newsreel. This is the occasion when Elgar's remarks to the players were recorded. After being greeted by the orchestra, Elgar said:Â âMorning, gentlemen. Glad to see you all. Very light programme this morning. Please play this tune as though youâve never heard it before.â
On 7 October 1932, Elgar re-recorded the first two marches with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Kingsway Hall for a special Christmas release that year.Â
Three recordings were made by Elgar of 'Land of Hope and Glory'. The first was in 1924, a 'live' recording made at the opening of the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley. The record was not released. Neither was a recording made in 1931. A successful recording with the Philharmonic Choir was Â made in 1928.
Frederick Delius CH
Frederick Delius, was born on 29th January 1862. While being fundamentally composing in an English Romantic style, due to his extensive travels across Europe and America, Delius is considered to be a truly international composer.
Â Opera House, Paris (Photo Courtesy of Bonjourparis.com)
La Calinda was written during Deliusâ timeÂ in Paris, whichÂ was known as his âBohemian yearsâ. La Calinda was originally written as a musical interlude to the opera âKoangaâÂ and in moreÂ recent times it has become famous in its own right as a classic work of British Light Music.
La Calinda an example of a style of music which is regularly played by the Bands of the Household Division at Buckingham Palace Garden Parties, summer bandstand performances and evening concerts.
To listen to a sample excerptÂ click here
Great and Glorious
Major Leslie Statham
Statham was born in December 1905 and served in the Army until 1962. Great and Glorious is one of the few marches credited to Statham, although military music enthusiasts will be more familiar with the many other marches written under his pseudonym of Arnold Steck, including Birdcage Walk, The Guardsman and the original Match of the Day theme Drum Majorette.
To Listen to the aMatch of the Day theme Click Here
Excerpts from Fantasia on British Sea Songs
Sir Henry Wood CH
The English Conductor, Henry Wood is best known for founding the world-famous music festival of promenade concerts âThe Promsâ which take place annually in the Royal Albert Hall, in London. His arrangement âFantasia on British Sea Songsâ was composed to mark the Centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. It is performed each year in âThe Last Night of The Promsâ.
Sir William Walton OM
Westminster Abbey,Â The Lady ChapelÂ
Crown Imperial is an orchestral march by the English composer William Walton. Walton derived the march's title from the line "In beawtie berying the crone imperiall" from William Dunbar's poem "In Honour of the City of London".
The march was first performed at the coronation of King George VI in 1937 and was substantially revised in 1953. Walton originally composed the march for performance at the coronation of King Edward VIII, scheduled for 12 May 1937, but Edward abdicated in 1936. The coronation was held on the scheduled day, with Edward's brother being crowned instead.Â Â
Crown Imperial was also performed at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, along with another Coronation March written by Walton, Orb and Sceptre.Â
Crown Imperial was performed more recently as a recessional piece to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
John Stanley arr. Collis-Smith
John Stanley was born in 1712. For the majority of his professional life he was the organist for the Society of the Inner Temple, where he worked until his death in 1786.
Trumpet voluntary was written as part of a three volume series of voluntaries for organ to highlight the trumpet stop. However, trumpet voluntaries work particularly well for military band and, due to their uplifting and fanfaric sound, are often used at various State and Ceremonial occasions.
The arranger, Major Collis-Smith, has enjoyed a long career in British Army Music, both within and outside the Household Division. He is currently the Director of Music of the Band of the Household Cavalry.
John Stanley (1712-1786): Trumpet Voluntary Opus 6 number 5
Conductor:Â Major Paul Collis-SmithÂ
Solo Trumpet:Â Lance Sergeant Nick Mott
Performed by the State Ceremonial Musicians of the Household Division
To listen to a sample excerptÂ click here
Theme from the 49th Parallel
Ralph Vaughan Williams OM
Ralph Vaughan Williams was born on 12 October 1872 in the Cotswold village of Down Ampney, where his father was vicar. Antecedents included the families of Wedgwood and Darwin. Following his fatherâs death in 1875 he was brought up at Leith Hill Place in Surrey and educated at Charterhouse School, the Royal College of Music and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was a pupil of Charles Stanford and Hubert Parry, later studying with Max Bruch in Berlin and Maurice Ravel in Paris.
In the early 1900âsÂ Vaughan Williams was amongst the first composers to curate English folk songs and carols. As musical editor of The English Hymnal he composed several hymn tunes, including Sine Nomine, âFor all the Saintsâ, âDown Ampneyâ and âCome down O love Divineâ.Â
Vaughan Williams took three years off his age in order to volunteer for the Army during the First World War. Â In 1914Â he enlisted as a private in the Royal Ambulance Medical Corps and then in 1915 he was posted to Dorking with 2/4 London Field Ambulance. Â In 1916 he was posted to France and his unit was involved in the Battle of the Somme and then was posted to Salonika.Â
In 1917 Vaughan Williams was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery and found himself in charge of both guns and horses. The shocking experience and the loss of close friends, such as the composer George Butterworth, deeply affected him and greatly influenced his compositions in later years.
Vaughan Williams was offered a knighthood but he declined. The Order of Merit was conferred upon him in 1935.
Vaughan Williams as an officer in the Royal Garrison Artillery (1917)
In 1941 Vaughan Williams was invited to compose the score for the British war propaganda film â49th Parallelâ. This was his first cinematic score. The music was directed by Muir Mathieson and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Along with the credits for the actors before the title at the beginning of the film, there is a credit for "The music of Ralph Vaughan Williams".
While today the film itself has dated, the characteristic modal style and folk influence of Vaughan Williams remains fresh today. In 1943 the main theme was arranged into the choral song âThe New Commonwealthâ, with lyrics written by Harold Hannington Child.
Ralph Vaughan Williams died on 26 August 1958. His ashes and those of his second wife Ursula, were interred on 19 September 1958, beneath the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey, near the graves of Henry Purcell, Herbert Howells and Charles Villiers Stanford.
Jupiter: The Planets Suite
Gustav Holst, arr. Barnwell
Gustav Theodore Von Holst was born on 21 September 1874. He was an English Romantic Composer who followed the stylistic approaches of Ravel and Stravinsky. Holst had tried to enlist at the outbreak of the First World War, but was rejected as unfit for military service due to his health problems. However, we wanted to contribute to the war effort and so volunteered to teach music to the troops under the direction of the YMCA.
In 1918, just as the war neared its end, he was posted to Salonika in Northern Greece to assume the post of Musical Organiser, helping to organise music activities in military training camps and hospitals. Morley College and St Paulâs Girlsâ School both offered him a yearâs leave of absence, but one obstacle remained â his name. The YMCA felt that his surname âvon Holstâ was far too Germanic to be acceptable in such a role, so a prerequisite of him taking up the post was a change of name. He formally changed it by deed poll to the less inflammatory âHolstâ
The Planets Suite was written between 1914 and 1916 and is a series of seven tone poems which were categorised as a collection of Planetary Portraits. Holst said of the pieces that they:
âWere suggested by the astrological significance of the planets. There is noÂ programme musicÂ in them, neither have they any connection with the deities of classical mythology bearing the same names. If any guide to the music is required, the subtitle to each piece will be found sufficient, especially if it be used in a broad sense. For instance, Jupiter brings jollity in the ordinary sense, and also the more ceremonial type of rejoicing associated with religions or national festivities. Saturn brings not only physical decay, but also a vision of fulfilment. Mercury is the symbol of the mind.â
The premiere of Holstâs 'The Planets;Â was at the Queen's Hall on 29 September 1918, conducted by Holst's friend Sir Adrian Boult, before an invited audience of about 250 people. The first complete public performance was finally given in London by Albert Coates conducting the London Symphony Orchestra on 15 November 1920.
âJupiter: The Planetsâ for Symphonic Military Band which features on theÂ âGreat and Gloriousâ album, was arranged by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Barnwell. Lieutenant Colonel Barnwell had a long career within the Household Division Bands starting as a bandmaster of the Irish Guards Band from 1994-95. He returned to the division in 2005 as Director of Music of the same band. In 2008 he moved to the Welsh Guards as Director of Music where he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Senior Director of Music from 2011-2013. During his time as Senior Director of Music he led the massed bands through the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
The last hymn of this movement is commonly known as âI vow to thee my countryâ and has often been used for finale sequences in Beating Retreats and Military Tattoos.
To listen to a sample excerpt click here
Benedictus & Salvation from Songs of Peace
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Haw MBE
Songs of Peace was written to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Benedictus offers a heartfelt blessing for those many millions of souls who perished during the bitter war. A sense of relief and thanksgiving for the end of war is captured in the fourth movement, Salvation. Written in Baghdad,2019, is dedicated to James Jay Turner, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Special Operations Joint Task Force -Operation Inherent Resolve.
At the end of the Second World War, at least 11 million people had been displaced from their home countries, with about seven million in Allied-occupied Germany. These included former prisoners of war, released slave labourers, and both non-Jewish and Jewish concentration-camp survivors.
Sam Pivnik a Polish Jew from Bendzin was one of the many who had been displaced following WWII. During the war Sam was incarcerated in a number of concentration and extermination camps in Poland and Germany, including Auschwitz and he witnessed first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust. In 1945 towards the end of the war with the Third Reich vanquished and the European war almost over, Sam was taken on a SS death march to the west. Sam recalledÂ "there was no talking, just the clatter of clogs and boots on the crunching snow. The monotonous rhythm was punctuated now and then by the crack of a rifle and another heavy bullet, fired at close range, slammed into a fragile body. No bullet ever missed.âÂ Having survived the death march Sam was detained on the prison ship Cap Arcona, which was controversially bombed and sunk by the RAF. Sam was one of the few survivors who managed to swim ashore.
Eventually, Sam went to live and settle in London but it took decades for him to tell his story and when asked why that was he replied:Â
âthat's a simple question, but the answer is complicated. When I first came to London after the war, nobody wanted to know. They all had their own problems - the loss of their own loved ones, blitzed buildings, the 'age of austerity'. Part of me said, 'Forget it. Build a new life. Move on.' But of course, I couldn't forget it. And it is a fact, too, that one day I knew I had to tell my story - because every Holocaust story should be told. Edmund Burke said a long time ago 'those who don't know their history are condemned to repeat it'. The Holocaust happened. And in the terms of History, it happened just yesterday. My generation won't be here forever and one day all there will be of us will be words on a printed page. Sam Pivnik is nobody: just one of millions.â
May 8, 1945, Ministry of Health, London. During the celebrations that followed the announcement of the end of the war in Europe, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and his principal colleagues appeared on the balcony of the Ministry of Health in Whitehall.
âMy dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. Itâs a victory of the great British nation as a whole. We were the first, in this ancient island, to draw the sword against tyranny. After a while we were left all alone against the most tremendous military power that has been seen. We were all alone for a whole year.
There we stood, alone. Did anyone want to give in? [The crowd shouted âNo.â] Were we down-hearted? Â [âNo!â] Â The lights went out and the bombs came down. But every man, woman and child in the country had no thought of quitting the struggle. London can take it. So we came back after long months from the jaws of death, out of the mouth of hell, while all the world wondered. When shall the reputation and faith of this generation of English men and women fail? I say that in the long years to come not only will the people of this island but of the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in human hearts, look back to what weâve done and they will say âdo not despair, do not yield to violence and tyranny, march straightforward and die if need be-unconquered.âÂ Now we have emerged from one deadly struggle-a terrible foe has been cast on the ground and awaits our judgment and our mercy.
But there is another foe who occupies large portions of the British Empire, a foe stained with cruelty and greed-the Japanese. I rejoice we can all take a night off today and another day tomorrow. Tomorrow our great Russian allies will also be celebrating victory and after that we must begin the task of rebuilding our hearth and homes, doing our utmost to make this country a land in which all have a chance, in which all have a duty, and we must turn ourselves to fulfil our duty to our own countrymen, and to our gallant allies of the United States who were so foully and treacherously attacked by Japan. We will go hand and hand with them. Even if it is a hard struggle we will not be the ones who will fail.â
Professor at the Royal College of Music in 1924, Gordon Jacob is credited with over 700 compositions and arrangements, one of which is this arrangement of the National Anthem, which was written for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Credit: Sergeant J Ellwood - Household Division Communications Cell
The Queen Victoria Memorial is located in front of Buckingham Palace and comprises the Dominion Gates (Canada Gate, Australia Gate and South and West Africa Gates), the Memorial Gardens and a vast central monument commemorating the death of QueenÂ Victoria in 1901. The monument is 25 metres high and uses 2,300 tonnes of white Carrara marble. As well as Victoria, there are statues representing courage, constancy, victory, charity, truth and motherhood.Â
The central monument, created between 1906 and 1924, is by Sir Thomas Brock, but the whole design, including the Memorial Gardens, was conceived by Sir Aston Webb. The Memorial was formally unveiled by King George V in 1911.
The Memorial GardensÂ
The Memorial Gardens were created in 1901 as part of Sir Aston Webbâs overall design for a memorial to Queen Victoria after her death that year. The formal flowerbeds are laid out in a semi-circular design around the central memorial and are a familiar sight during the many of the famous processions and ceremonies that take place in this area. Replanting of the beds in summer requires approximately 22,500 plants, including geraniums, spider plants, salvias and weeping figs. Scarlet geraniums are used to match the tunics of The Queenâs Guard at Buckingham Palace. In winter time the beds are filled with about 50,000 yellow wallflowers and red tulips.