Elgar: Symphony No. 3; Pomp and Circumstance March No. 6

Elgar: Symphony No. 3; Pomp and Circumstance March No. 6

by Richard HickoxRichard Hickox


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A decade before the release of this disc in late 2007, two of the three pieces on it were still undiscovered. It was well known in Elgarian circles that, though he had toyed with a symphony for several years in the early '30s, the composer had on his deathbed explicitly forbidden anyone from tinkering with the sketches. And it was just about unknown that the composer had also tinkered with sketches of a "Sixth Pomp and Circumstance March." Despite what was known and unknown, musicologist Anthony Payne believed there was enough in the sketches for him to elaborate a full-length symphony. The Elgar Will Trust agreed, and Elgar's "Third Symphony" was premiered in London in 1998 -- and greeted with a standing ovation. After the success of the "Third," Payne and the Trust turned to the sketches for a "Sixth Pomp and Circumstance March," and it was premiered in 2006, once again to great acclaim. This Chandos disc with Richard Hickox leading the BBC National Orchestra of Wales contains the fourth recording of the "Third" -- Andrew Davis, Paul Daniel, and Colin Davis' having preceded it -- plus the premiere recording of the "Sixth Pomp and Circumstance March," as well as a recording of Payne's orchestration of "So Many True Princesses Who Have Gone" and Elgar's "Memorial Ode" for his friend Queen Alexandra originally scored for chorus and band. It also might be the best performance of the "Third" yet recorded. Andrew Davis' has the joy of discovery, Paul Daniel's the strength of enthusiasm, and Colin Davis' the power of conviction, but Hickox's takes all that for granted. As far as Hickox is concerned, the battle is over and Payne's Elgar's "Third," like Sussmayer's Mozart's "Requiem" or Cooke's Mahler's "Tenth," has won its right to exist. The heroic themes, the questing developments, the heartwarming melodies, the dark pessimism, and the sublime optimism that make Elgar himself are all present. While it is surely not what Elgar would have written -- too much of the music still in his head when he died -- this "Third" performs the impossible trick of sounding just like Elgar at his best. The same could be said of the "Sixth Pomp and Circumstance March" and the choral-orchestral "So Many True Princesses Who Have Gone." Though the march is not in the same league as the first five and the "Ode" is not up to "The Dream of Gerontius," they both sound like Elgar, just not Elgar at his best. For Elgar devotees, this disc will be mandatory.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/15/2008
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115505724
catalogNumber: 5057
Rank: 82159


  1. Symphony No. 3 (incomplete; completed by Anthony Payne)
  2. Queen Alexandra Memorial Ode: "So many true princesses who have gone", for chorus & military band
  3. Pomp and Circumstance March No.6, for orchestra (completed by Anthony Payne)

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