Elgar Pomp and Circumstance No.4
Bantock Helena Variations
Sibelius Symphony No.2
The case for my program: The composers on this program were all colleagues and friends and furthermore exemplify the musical connections between Great Britain and Scandinavia that flourished in the first decades of the 20th Century.
As senior statesman of the British branch, I have selected Elgar’s lesser known Pomp and Circumstance no.4 to begin the program. Not many know the name of Granville Bantock these days, but as a conductor he was a champion of contempory music. Bantock and his wife Helena were close personal friend of the Elgars (Edward dedicated his 2nd Pomp and Circumstance to Bantock)and the latter was known to comment that he considered his younger colleague to be the superior composer. The Helena Variations, based upon Granville’s wife’s initials HFB, were inspired by Elgar’s Enigma Variations which appeared the year previously.
Jean Sibelius dedicated his 3rd Symphony to Bantock and later became the first President of the Bantock Sociey. He is represented on this program by his most familiar work, the 2nd Symphony.