Drum roll please....! Cockaigne Overture, 1901. or Cockayne (pron.: /kɒˈkeɪn/); 'Cockaigne' was a term used by moralists at that time as a metaphor for gluttony and drunkenness, while Britain adopted the name humorously for London. There is no narrative programme, but the work presents various aspects of turn-of-the-century London and Londoners. It begins with a quiet but bustling theme which leads into an unbroken sequenceof snapshots: the cockneys, the church bells, the romantic couples, a slightly ragged brass band (perhaps the Salvation Army) and a contrastingly grand and imperious military band. The broad theme representing Londoners.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the success of the Enigma Variations had been followed by the initial failure of The Dream of Gerontius, which caused Elgar to be dispirited and declare that God was against art. Nevertheless, on receiving a commission from the Royal Philharmonic Society he began work on the new piece and soon reported that it was 'cheerful and Londony, "stout and steaky"' ... 'honest, healthy, humorous and strong, but not vulgar'.