ED­WARD EL­GAR Land Of Hope And Glory

Ready for a spot of rous­ing pa­tri­o­tism? Then hold onto your top hats as Brid­get Mermikides brings you her gui­tar ar­range­ment of this ul­ti­mate Proms closer.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENT -

Brid­get Mermikides ar­ranges and tran­scribes this Bri­tish com­poser’s most fa­mous work, as used to close the Last Night Of The Proms.

In this is­sue we are tack­ling a work by one of Eng­land’s great­est com­posers, Ed­ward El­gar (1857-1934). El­gar’s mu­sic is now an in­trin­sic part of Bri­tish culture but he was, in fact, rather an eclec­tic com­poser draw­ing in­flu­ence from a range of Euro­pean com­posers such as Brahms, Schu­mann and Wag­ner. And al­though his mu­sic is associated with lauded events, he came from hum­ble work­ing class ori­gins, and was fur­ther marginalised by be­ing a Catholic in a largely Protes­tant so­ci­ety. His re­ported hu­mil­ity and sen­si­tiv­ity might seem at odds with some of his more bom­bas­tic works but there is a won­der­ful el­e­gance and bit­ter­sweet lyri­cism through­out his work, in­clud­ing his Sa­lut D’Amour (ar­ranged in GT260) and Enigma Vari­a­tions (GT225).

This month I’m ar­rang­ing one of his most fa­mous pieces, taken from the Pomp & Cir­cum­stance Marches Op 39, a set of marches com­posed for or­ches­tra, which was col­lated over a num­ber of years (19011930). The sixth and fi­nal one was only left in sketch form and com­pleted in 2006 by com­poser An­thony Payne. What has en­dured from this set of marches is the trio sec­tion from March No 1 – com­posed in 1901 and ded­i­cated to his friend Al­fred Rode­wald. It was first per­formed in Lon­don in the same year to an over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive re­sponse and this short seg­ment of mu­sic rapidly gained a life of its own - a piece in its own right. In Amer­ica, this sec­tion is known sim­ply as Pomp & Cir­cum­stance, or The Grad­u­a­tion March (due to its ubiq­ui­tous use at col­lege and school pro­gres­sions). In Eng­land in 1902 the same sec­tion was adapted by El­gar in his Coro­na­tion Ode writ­ten for Ed­ward VII – the el­dest son and suc­ces­sor of Queen Vic­to­ria. The melody was pro­vided with words by the English poet A C Ben­son, cel­e­brat­ing the coro­na­tion of the new King and call­ing for Bri­tish pa­tri­o­tism, and so Land Of Hope And Glory as we know it to­day, was born. It has since been per­formed at count­less sport­ing events, royal oc­ca­sions as well as a sta­ple of the an­nual Last Night Of The Proms.

I’ve trans­posed the ver­sion from the Coro­na­tion Ode to C Ma­jor, which al­lows an op­ti­mal balance of melodic range and sup­port­ing bassline and it fits quite sat­is­fy­ingly. In or­der to give this the de­sired rous­ing qual­ity, it re­quires a sen­si­tive use of dy­nam­ics as well as the use of spread chords in or­der to em­u­late the or­ches­tral flour­ishes of the orig­i­nal.

NEXT MONTH Brid­get ar­ranges and tran­scribes Mozart’s stun­ning Ave Verum Cor­pus

EL­GAR WAS A RATHER AN ECLEC­TIC COM­POSER DRAW­ING IN­FLU­ENCE FROM A RANGE OF EURO­PEAN COM­POSERS

Ed­ward El­gar: in 1904 re­ceived a knight­hood from KIng Ed­ward VII

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