The Music —
Peter Pan is set to a score of music by English composer, Sir Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934), arranged by American-born Niel DePonte.
Elgar was arguably the leading English composer of his generation, and a significant figure among late Romantic European musicians. Known for his ability to combine nobility and spirituality with a popular style, Elgar’s canon includes large scale works and dozens of lighter pieces, each finely crafted and distinguished by melodic charm.
To create the score for Peter Pan, DePonte searched for compositions by Elgar that were beautiful and evocative, but not necessarily widely known. The final score features all or part of 22 pieces by Elgar, including Wand of Youth, Suites 1 & 2 for the opening scenes of Act I; and In the South Overture for Peter’s victory over Captain Hook in Act III.
Speaking about his decision to avoid using the most familiar Elgar melodies, DePonte says, “You will not hear excerpts from either the Enigma Variations, or Pomp and Circumstance March. The reason for this is twofold. First, an audience might already associate this music with specific visual imagery, and I didn’t want those associations to transfer over to Peter Pan. Second, I wanted an opportunity to introduce audiences to the ‘other’ Elgar – the one whose violin solo from the Crown of India Suite (heard during Peter and Wendy’s 2nd Act pas de deux) is breathtakingly, achingly, beautiful.”