This Fantasia is based on three well-known patriotic themes, namely:
- Rule Britannia, Thomas Arne (1710-1778)
- Land of Hope and Glory, Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
- God Bless the Prince of Wales, Brinley Richards (1817 to 1885)
Although the work was composed in 1982, no public performance before 2004 was possible due to copyright restrictions on Elgar’s work, which remain in force until 70 years after the death of the composer. The piece was first performed in 2018 at Aberystwyth Musicfest.
Neville’s most important contribution in the piece is the 8-bar counterpoint which begins at bar 9, which can be played at the same time as fragments of all three patriotic themes without upsetting good harmony. It is scored for a large orchestra including 4 horns, 3 trombones and harp.
The Fantasia begins with a rather strange but recognisable rendering of Rule Britannia in a remote flat key accompanied by a loud (ff) side drum which emphasises Britain’s conquests on land and on sea. There was no Air Force in Dr Arne’s day.