Preview: ELGAR CONCERTS Liverpool Philharmonic; in Association with LIVERPOOL.Com

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Byline: by Joe Riley

HE HAD a moustache purposedesigned for mopping up a strong brew of breakfast tea, and a love of fine after-dinner cigars and brandy: the quintessential English gentleman who gave us our second national anthem, written in Liverpool.

The Royal Mint may have dared to devalue the composer Edward Elgar by removing his starch-collared image from the pounds 20 note (replacing it with Scots economist AdamSmith - shades of Gordon Brown plc?).

But the Liverpool Phil, like other British orchestras, has begun celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Elgar's birth.

Already dispatched are the first two Pomp And Circumstance marches, dedicated to the composer's friend, Liverpool businessman Alfred Rodewald, with whom Elgar would stay at his home in Huskisson Street.

Both pieces were premiered by the then Liverpool Orchestral Society, on October 19, 1901, at a concert in New Brighton.

Three days later, the first march, subsequently incorporated into Elgar's Coronation Ode For Edward Vll, with the added words Land Of Hope And Glory, was heard at the London Proms. The rest is history.

The Cello Concerto and the tone poem Falstaff have also been heard under the baton of English music's finest interpreter, Vernon Handley, who should, in my view, have become the Phil's chief conductor following the departure of Libor Pesek in 1998. …