A lost composition by Worcestershire's favourite son, Sir Edward Elgar, is set to thrill Britain's flag-waving music lovers at the Last Night of the Proms.

More than 70 years after his death, the national legacy of the great composer is still celebrated every year when his most famous creation, Land Of Hope And Glory, is played at the Proms.

The melody was number one in his most renowned series of music, the Pomp And Circumstance Marches.

Now, for the first time since fragments of it were discovered among some papers in the library of the Royal School of Music, the sixth instalment is to be heard in public.

British composer Anthony Payne has brought to life Elgar's March No.6 from unfinished sketches.

The sketches include a main tune and ideas, over one of which Elgar has written "jolly good".

They complement another, n ear-indecipherable manuscript found in the British Library.

The main tune needed only "tiny changes", but Payne had to be more creative with the March's rousing introduction and grand final flourish.

BBC Proms director Nicholas Kenyon said: "Anthony has drawn on his in-depth knowledge of Elgar's style.

"Towards the end of his life Elgar started on quite a few projects but seems to have lost the will to compose.

"The piece will be about eight minutes in length, the same as the other Pomp And Circumstance Marches. It hasn't come out at all like the end of Hope And Glory.

"It's not as exuberant, is more sombre and has a wistful quality. I thought it was extremely beautiful but quite surprising. There's a touch of sadness in it, it does have an autumnal quality."

Mr Kenyon said: "The thematic ideas are Elgar's and the working out is Payne's. It's more than 50 per cent Payne.

"He had been looking at it for a while and suddenly decided how to do it and came to us with the piece."

Meanwhile, Mark Elder will return to conduct the Last Night of the Proms after almost 20 years. Elder was scheduled to conduct the Last Night in the Nineties but sparked controversy by with-drawing because he felt uncomfortable with the patriotism, due to the Gulf War.

Mr Kenyon said: "The last night has moved on from anything to do with nationalism to become an inclusive celebration of music-making across the UK. The whole character of the concert has moved on.

" Mark was absolutely delighted to be asked after all these years."

At yesterday's Proms launch, Mr Kenyon called for better music education in schools.

He said music and arts were suffering in a curriculum dedicated to "delivering league tables".

"There has been a change in the amount you can assume people know about classical music over the last decade because of all the changes in education," he said.

"The real danger is in assuming that people will come into classical music in the same way as they used to.

"There's a huge potential for it to weaken the audience of the future. Is there going to be a missed generation which will have a serious effect on music audiences in the future?"

The Mozart anniversary will be celebrated with the UK premiere of the new completion, by pianist-scholar Robert D Levin, of Mozart's Mass in C Minor.

The £8.5 million season is funded by the BBC licence fee and record numbers attended the Proms last year. ..SUPL: