Page last updated at 12:48 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Elgar and the best known war poem
Poppy at the Menim Gate in Belgium
A poppy at the Menim Gate memorial to the fallen

Sir Edward Elgar set what is probably the best-known war poem to music, as part of his Spirit of England suite.

He used three poems by Laurence Binyon, including For The Fallen - which contains the famous lines "We will remember them".

The poem was first published in The Times in September 1914 - Laurence Binyon later went on to work as a medical orderly.

The Spirit of England was premiered in 1917, a year before the end of the war.

The Cenotaph
Remembrance Day at The Cenotaph in London

Laurence Binyon's wrote For The Fallen in the first year of the war, and part of the poem forms the centrepiece of Remembrance Day services:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Binyon had worked at the British Museum, and, according to The Elgar Society, his head of department, Sir Sidney Colvin, was a good friend of Elgar's and suggested using three poems for a war requiem.

Sir Edward Elgar
The idea for Elgar's Spirit of England came from a friend

The finished work was played at The Royal Albert Hall, on 24 November 1917, a year before the end of the war.

The Binyon family have connections to Worcester, buying Henwick Grove, then on the outskirts of the city, in 1861.

Laurence Binyon stayed at the house many times - it was later sold to the city council for a nominal sum.

This generosity helped in the founding of the Worcester Teacher Training College, that later became the University of Worcester.




SEE ALSO
Woodbine Willie - a cleric at war
03 Nov 09 |  History
Plaque remembers war poem
16 Sep 03 |  Cornwall


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