Leading Article: They're playing our song

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The Independent Online
HANS OFF] Give Us Bach Our Elgar] Thus our colleagues at the Sun, reacting with outrage to the adoption of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance as a campaign theme by the German Social Democrat leader, Rudolf Scharping. Pomp and Circumstance is, of course, most commonly recognised in its vocal variation, as 'Land of Hope and Glory', herald of English triumph at the Commonwealth Games, boisterously familiar from the Last Night of the Proms, and often heard when the English get maudlin or drunk, or both. Thus the outrage. Sir Teddy Taylor: 'Our nation is being insulted.' Martin Peters, hero of England's victory (over Germany, as it happens) in the 1966 World Cup: 'I'm disgusted'.

We're not. Actually, we feel tremendously flattered. A political leader in the country with the richest musical store in the world has chosen an English tune] We say: rejoice] Besides, it's not as if we are entirely guiltless ourselves in the musical adoption game. Handel, Delius, Holst, all good English names; 'Silent Night' and that sweetest, saddest of wartime tunes, 'Lili Marlene' ; and what was that insistent call sign, just like fate knocking at the door, which the BBC used during the last war? Everybody does it. The tune of 'God Save the Queen' has been borrowed as a national anthem by at least 20 countries. Please don't tell Sir Teddy, but there is a whisper that we got it from Switzerland.

Elgar himself hated the jingoism inspired by 'Land of Hope and Glory'. His great-niece Hilary says: 'It's such a jolly good tune you can't blame them for stealing it.' Quite. Chancellor Kohl, meanwhile, with his ineffable sense of style, has plumped for Tina Turner's 'Simply the Best'.

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