Proms 2006 – Being Elgar: P & C Number 6

Written by: Colin Anderson

Music that exists but doesn’t! Elgar left sketches for a sixth Pomp and Circumstance March, and Anthony Payne has once again weaved his creator’s magic. “The Elgar Trust sent me various sketches. I had a look and wasn’t struck with enthusiasm; I then had another look and it began to fall in place; I got really caught up in it. Elgar’s music is in my bones; I forget myself and just compose and imagine that I’m feeling like Elgar!” Sketches from various years have been utilised. “Three pages were discovered in the Royal School of Organists library about 1995 and are termed P and C Number 6; one main theme and some bits and bobs, which must date from after 1930 when he wrote number 5. Other ideas might have been jotted down when he was engaged with the other marches, before the First World War.”

For the new March, Tony has written “44 percent of the bars. Elgar doesn’t indicate where his material goes and I have had to orchestrate it all. I’ve given it a big introduction, about 40 bars, using scraps of Elgar’s ideas, like a patrol getting nearer and nearer – and then the main tune bursts out. Its breadth and sombre feeling remind me of Elgar’s Coronation March; a splendid piece.” P & C 6 (to be premiered at the Proms on August 2) has also “got a tune that is palpably the big nobilmente tune in the middle; it’s rather fine. I’ve written two of its verses; Elgar knew what he would do next, of course, and it was great fun to write one of the big Elgar tunes!” Andrew Davis conducts: “I’ve had a long chin-wag with Andrew and he’s delighted.”

  • Proms 2006
  • The above article was published in “What’s On in London” on 27 July 2006 and is reproduced here with permission

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