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Rick Steves Classroom Europe™ is a free resource allowing teachers to share the best of European art, history, and culture with their students and fellow educators.

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A Symphonic Journey: England’s Grand March (6:22)

Europe

Edward Elgar’s famous “Pomp and Circumstance March” expresses the grandeur and confidence of the first global superpower--Britain. At the end of the 19th century, Queen Victoria ruled nearly a quarter of the planet--an empire "upon which the sun never set."

Complete Video Script

Next, we travel to England. This piece captures the grandeur of what was Europe’s first global superpower.

At the end of the 19th century, Queen Victoria ruled a quarter of the planet. Her empire was famously the empire upon which the sun never set, humming with newfangled inventions from the Industrial Age, with the middle-class that was educated, prosperous, and on the rise.

This next piece is “Pomp and Circumstance” by Sir Edward Elgar. And it seems to provide a fitting sort of soundtrack for the confidence that was Britain's at the dawn of the 20th century.

We know this piece mostly because we use it at commencement ceremonies to celebrate educational triumphs. But if you happen to be ruling a grand empire, or bushwhacking a brave new future for the common man, this piece works for other triumphs as well. Let's listen to the regal sounds of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.”