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Instrumentation

The instrumentation is: two piccolos (2nd ad lib.), two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in A, bass clarinet in A, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns in F, two trumpets in F, two cornets in A, three trombones, tuba, three timpani, percussion (bass drum, cymbals, triangle, side drum, jingles, and tambourine ad lib.), two harps, organ, and strings.

History

The best known of the set, it had its premiere, along with the more reserved second March, in Liverpool on 19 October 1901, with Elgar conducting the Liverpool Orchestral Society.[4] Both marches were played two days later at a London Promenade Concert in the Queen’s Hall London, conducted by Henry Wood, with March No. 1 played second, and the audience “…rose and yelled… the one and only time in the history of the Promenade concerts that an orchestral item was accorded a double encore.”[5]

The Trio contains the tune known as “Land of Hope and Glory”. In 1902 the tune was re-used, in modified form, for the Land of hope and glory section of his Coronation Ode for King Edward VII. The words were further modified to fit the original tune, and the result has since become a fixture at the Last Night of the Proms, and an English sporting anthem.

In the United States, the Trio section “Land of Hope and Glory” of March No. 1 is often known simply as “Pomp and Circumstance” or as “The Graduation March” and is played as the processional tune at virtually all high school and some college graduation ceremonies.[6] It was first played at such a ceremony on 28 June 1905, at Yale University, where the Professor of Music Samuel Sanford had invited his friend Elgar to attend commencement and receive an honorary doctorate of music. Elgar accepted, and Sanford made certain he was the star of the proceedings, engaging the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the College Choir, the Glee Club, the music faculty members, and New York musicians to perform two parts from Elgar’s oratorio The Light of Life and, as the graduates and officials marched out, “Pomp and Circumstance” March No. 1. Elgar repaid the compliment by dedicating his Introduction and Allegro to Sanford later that year.[7] The tune soon became de rigueur at American graduations, used primarily as a processional at the opening of the ceremony.[8]

or if you like a more formal setting…

March No. 1 opens with an introduction marked Allegro, con molto fuoco.[9][10] The introduction leads to a new theme: strong pairs of beats alternating with short notes, and a bass which persistently clashes with the tune. The bass tuba and full brass is held back until the section is repeated by the full orchestra. A little rhythmic pattern is played by the strings, then repeated high and low in the orchestra before the section is concluded by a chromatic upward scale from the woodwind. The whole of this lively march section is repeated. The bridging section between this and the well-known Trio has rhythmic chords from the brass punctuating high held notes from the wind and strings, before a fanfare from trumpets and trombones leads into the theme with which the march started. There are a few single notes that quieten, ending with a single quiet tap from side drum and cymbal accompanied by all the bassoons.[11] The famous, lyrical “Land of Hope and Glory” trio follows (in the subdominant key of G), played softly (by the first violins, four horns and two clarinets) and repeated by the full orchestra including two harps. What follows is a repetition of what has been heard before, including a fuller statement of the Trio (this time in the ‘home’ key of D) in which the orchestra is joined by organ as well as the two harps. The march ends, not with the big tune, but with a short section containing a brief reminder of the brisk opening march.

[Source:Wikipedia]

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