Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Edward Elgar:

Pomp and Circumstance Marches

No. 3 and No. 5

for Organ Solo

Edward Elgar (1857-1934) completed five Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches, leaving sketches for a sixth. The title is borrowed from a line in Shakespeare’s Othello, “Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war!” At the London premiere of the 1st March in 1901, the conductor Henry Wood encored the piece twice, such was the enthusiasm for it. After the composition of the 4th March in 1907, it was not until 1930 that Elgar completed a 5th March.  Elgar composed the 3rd March in 1904, and it is dedicated to Ivor Atkins, organist of Worcester Cathedral. Unlike the other Marches, the music is often dark, threatening and sometimes even violent. Despite the triumphant return of the trio theme, the march ends in a turbulent mood, hardly celebratory. Elgar jotted down the main theme of the 5th March on the back of an Ordnance Survey map while driving through Gloucester. However, some of the material may date from an earlier period, as the March recaptures the brilliance and splendour of Elgar’s pre-First World War works. It is dedicated to Percy Hull, organist of Hereford Cathedral. The work received a successful premiere in 1930 as well as a recording by the composer. Many of Elgar’s works were arranged for organ in his lifetime, but only the 1st and 4th Marches were published. These arrangements are unabridged versions of the scores, and were made in 2001.

Available to purchase from Aria Editions here and here

The arrangement of the 5th March was performed at the Royal Wedding in Westminster Abbey in 2011. Both have been recorded:

Elgar - Organ Works

Robert Quinney, Organ

includes arrangements of Pomp and Circumstance Marches 3 and 5, Severn Suite

Signum Classics, 2011