Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Pomp And Circumstance

There's anxiety and a frenetic gaiety in Elgar but underneath everything- like a bass drone- lies the melancholy. Even that great tune that got itself turned into Land of Hope and Glory is- in its original orchestration- sad. It suggests repletion rather than triumphalism. We're at the high point of empire, poised at the top of the turning wheel; it reminds me of Kipling's Recessional:

Far called our navies melt away
On dune and headland dies our fire.
Lo, all our pomps of yesterday
Are one with Nineveh and Tyre...

There's that word again- pomp. It always makes me think of summer clouds- enormous, solid-seeming, impermanent.

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