Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance March No.4 is similar to March No.1 in having a lively, rhythmic march section and a broad lyrical trio melody. The ‘big tune’ in No.4 was the first of Elgar’s melodies to be marked ‘nobilmente’. Elgar himself described the work as ‘gaudily gay and brilliant’.
Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance March No.4 was completed in the 7th June 1907, five days after the composer’s 50th birthday. The first performance took place a few weeks later on the 24th August at the Queen’s Hall, with Henry Wood conducting. Similar in structure and style to Pomp & Circumstance March No.1, it has a lively, rhythmic march section and a very broad, lyrical ‘[big tune’ melody in the Trio. However, in this march Elgar superimposes one on top of the other in a final, extended coda. Several attempts have been made to fit words to the main tune, the of which were by the composer’s wife, Alice, for her song The King’s Way. This music was later set to Alfred Noye’s Song of Victory before a later attempt to make a patriotic Song of Liberty for World War II by author AP Herbert.