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Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4

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Published on Jul 24, 2009

March No. 4 was completed on 7 June 1907, and dedicated "To my friend Dr. G. Robertson Sinclair, Hereford". It was first performed on 24 August 1907, in the Queen's Hall, London, conducted by the composer.

The instrumentation is: Piccolo (with 3rd Flute), 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, Cor Anglais, 2 Clarinets in B♭, Bass Clarinet in B♭, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns in F, 3 Trumpets in A, 3 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani (3), Percussion (Side Drum, Bass Drum & Cymbals), 2 Harps, and Strings.

March No. 4 is as upbeat and ceremonial as No. 1, containing another big tune in the central Trio section.

The Trio was used by Elgar in a song called "The King's Way" which he wrote, to his wife's words, in celebration of the opening of an important new London street called Kingsway.

In World War II, No. 4 also acquired words: a patriotic poem by A. P. Herbert with the refrain beginning "All men must be free" was used as Song of Liberty.

March No. 4 has a martial opening section consisting mainly of two-bar rhythmic phrases which are repeated in various forms, and a lyrical Trio constructed like the famous "Land of Hope and Glory" trio of March No. 1.

The first eight bars of the march is played by the full orchestra with the melody played by the violas and upper woodwind. Both harps play from the beginning, while the cellos, double basses and timpani contribute a simple bass figure. The bass clarinet, contrabassoon, trombones and tuba are held "in reserve" for the repeat, when the first violins join the violas with the tune. There are subdued fanfares from the brass interrupted by little flourishes from the strings before the opening march is repeated. There is pause, then a little section which starts forcefully but quietens, leading into the Trio. The Trio follows the pattern of March No. 1, with the melody (in the subdominant key of C) played by clarinet, horn and violins. The violins start the Trio tune on the lowest note they can play, an "open" G-string, which gives a recognisable "twang" to this one note, and they are directed to play the passage "sul G"[18] on the same string, for the sake of the tone-colour, and the accompaniment is from the harps, low strings and bassoons. The grand tune is repeated, as we expect, by the full orchestra; the opening march section returns; the grand tune is repeated again in the "home" key of G major; and the last word is had by a re-statement of the opening rhythmic patterns. The march prepares the audience for its end as surely as a train pulling into a station, with the violins, violas and cellos ending on their resonant "open" G.

  • Category

  • Song

    • No. 4 in G Major
  • Artist

    • English Symphony Orchestra
  • Album

    • Elgar, E.: 5 Military Marches / The Wand of Youth Suite / 3 Bavarian Dances (Orchestral Favourites, Vol. 7)
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • NaxosofAmerica (on behalf of Nimbus), and 2 Music Rights Societies

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