Piano Concerto No.1 in Eb major (2) John Field Download 'Piano Concerto No.1 in Eb major (2)' on iTunes
England's musical heritage is rich and diverse, so we've picked the most English of English music to celebrate St George's Day on 23 April.
Just as Wales has adopted Land of My Fathers as an unofficial national anthem, a poll in 2006 revealed that over half of the English public would like to see Elgar's rousing Land of Hope and Glory as the anthem for England.
The Marmite of classical music, the famous Lark has almost as many staunch haters as it does advocates. But in terms of its English credentials, this one scores pretty highly, taking inspiration from the soaring lark over the green and pleasant English countryside.
Butterworth was a great English composer who never fulfilled his potential because his life was cut tragically short in the First World War. The Banks of Green Willow was written in 1913. It is loosely based on the song that Vaughan Williams had lovingly recorded on one of his folk safaris in 1909. It has become almost a symbol of that long-lost halcyon Edwardian age, as if Butterworth were transcribing the disappearing world around him.
"Stout and steaky". That's how Elgar described his Cockaigne Overture, a bustling, boozy musical homage to London town. Cockneys, church bells, couples, and a brass band all feature in this work, which finishes with a glorious burst of orchestral glory typical of this quintessentially English composer.
Evoking the sights and sounds of the city of Durham, Jon Lord's colourful concerto has been described as being reminiscent of the music of Vaughan Williams and Tallis. With titles like Durham Awakes, The Cathedral at Dawn and The Road to Lindisfarne, it's a multi-faceted portrayal of the great city's character - helped along the way by Lord's inclusion of the Northumbrian pipes.
To celebrate 30 years of living at Highgrove House in Gloucester, HRH Prince Charles commissioned former Classic FM composer in residence Patrick Hawes to write the Highgrove Suite. Making the most of the beautiful country gardens and meadows, Hawes' music is suitably pastoral, coming about as close to an afternoon country stroll in music as possible.
A bellowing organ, resplendent vocal lines, and royal associations - it can only be Bournemouth-born Parry's setting of Psalm 122. Even before Parry's regal masterpiece was written in 1902, the text itself was a favourite among royalty, with settings by Purcell and Boyce performed at the coronation of British monarchs.
A jewel in the crown in the English choral tradition, Tallis' elaborate 40-part motet is made up of eight interlocking choirs of five individual voices. The music gradually grows from its understated reflective opening to become a fervent religious outpouring, crying out for God to 'be mindful of our lowliness'. Put simply, it's arrestingly beautiful.
In 1921, Gustav Holst adapted the music from a section of Jupiter from his suite The Planets to create a setting for a poem by Cecil Spring-Rice. The original programme may be astrological, but the text is patriotic, and the music is suitably rousing.
Combining two of our English musical greats, Britten's The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra uses a theme from Purcell’s Abdelazar, written in 1695. So if you're wondering why the rousing tune sounds familiar, it could well be down to its distinctly Baroque flavour.
Stately and Edwardian, Elgar's first foray into the symphonic genre is passionate from the word go. The first movement is characterised by its simple heavy string line, accompanying a beautifully reflective woodwind tune. It's simple, growing into an incredible timpani-fuelled march.
We could champion all of Vaughan Williams' symphonies for their 'Englishness', but the Pastoral Symphony No. 3 and the peaceful Symphony No. 5 are perhaps the most notable. And if we're going by the title alone, the London Symphony is certainly deserving of a mention.
Two of England's finest musical exports, Vaughan Williams bridges the centuries with his lush string fantasia. It was composed in 1910, 343 years after Tallis' modal masterpiece.
It's Elgar's best-known large-scale composition, most famous for the beautiful Nimrod. This tear-jerker is commonly soundtracks moments of pathos, from emotional TV adverts to profoundly moving memorial ceremonies.
Based on a folk song, this music for harp and string orchestra by Vaughan WIlliams is more commonly known as a hymn, 'I Heard the Voice of Jesus say'. It's Vaughan Williams' slushy string music at its best, complete with mellow tunes from the cellos and violas, and a few spread harp chords adding to the magic.
It's been said that this is a concerto which begins its action in the middle. Rather than building to a climax, the piece begins with perhaps the most arresting (and most famous) chords in the cello music canon.
Suffolk-born Britten was inspired by the tragic tale of fisherman Peter Grimes after reading 'The Borough', a poem by Gorge Crabbe. The opera was first performed in 1945, and it's now viewed as one of the most important English operas of the 20th century.
English folk songs, orchestrated by this quintessentially English composer. It's cheeky and uplifting, combining the flowing folk music with a lively military band style in the rest of the orchestra.
"And did those feet in ancient time / Walk upon England's mountains green?" The pleasant pastures and verdant countryside in Blake's poem have been transformed into this popular hymn by Hubert Parry. Even King George V said he preferred the piece to 'God Save the King', cementing the piece as England's most patriotic song.
When it comes to sheer regal pomp, it doesn't get much more exciting than the opening blaze of C major orchestral splendour in Walton's march. He took the title from William Dunbar's poem 'In Honour of the City of London', and the piece was performed at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.
A mellow clarinet melody floats over a bed of velvety strings, conjuring the peace and beauty of the English countryside. It's unfortunate that Finzi himself couldn't see why the music was so popular, describing them as 'only trifles'.
Holst, Vaughan Williams, Elgar… While Ronald Binge's output and musical stature may not square up to these masters of English music, the lilting string tune and the peaceful fluttering flutes in Sailing By present a pretty good case for selecting this as an iconic piece of English music.
Finzi proves once more that he knows how to write an excellent clarinet tune in this piece, which premiered in 1949. He was a lover of all things English and published a great deal of English folk music throughout his life, as well as rescuing a number of rare apple breeds from extinction.
It's not his most popular piece by any stretch, but Vaughan Williams incidental music to Aristophanes' play is one of his three forays into writing in the genre. It was written for a production of the play in Cambridge, and, stylistically, the music is Vaughan Williams through and through.
Delius is known for his musical portrayals of the English countryside, but he's even managed to assert his characteristically patriotic style in his Florida Suite, inspired by the landscape and culture of the sunshine state. If you're looking for something a little more pastoral, though, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring features the bird's recognisable calls played on the clarinet.
This opera was most probably first performed Josias Priest's girls' school in London no later than the summer of 1688. It's a landmark work in English Baroque opera.
Still a firm favourite military band number at flypasts, Eric Coates' popular theme to the classic 1955 war movie is a great example of a piece of music that has become just as famous as the film it comes from.