A previously undiscovered manuscript by Sir Edward Elgar has revealed that the great composer always intended his most famous piece to be played on kazoos and car horns accompanied by party poppers and bursting balloons.
The discovery has embarrassed purists who for years have looked on aghast at the high jinx of the Last Night of the Proms, when students and Young Conservatives wrap themselves in flags and drunkenly sing along to various patriotic anthems. ‘But it’s all there in the original score,’ explained Sir Piers Rawthorne from the Royal College of Music, where the original manuscript is now being studied. ‘There are clear annotations suggesting that a drunken rugby fan should sing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, and then just shout ‘Tum te tum’, because he doesn’t know the rest of the words.’
There are also clearly written sections for plastic party trumpets, comb and paper, razzers and exploding bangers, all out of time with the orchestra. ‘He even wrote a part for a loud drunkard to burp during the quiet section, sending a ripple of laughter across the hall.’
Although the BBC refused to comment on the unlikely coincidence that has meant that Elgar’s piece has been correctly rendered for the last eighty years, they insisted that the manuscript was genuine. ‘He even stipulated that a large breasted girl in a Union Jack T shirt should bounce up and down on her boyfriend’s shoulders while the cameraman kept cutting back to her. So I’ll suppose we’ll have to do that too.’