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Enthusiasts unearth two lost songs by British composer Elgar

LONDON (Reuters) - Two "lost" songs by British classical music composer Edward Elgar have been unearthed by researchers for a charity dedicated to the performance of his works.

Elgar Works director John Norris said he delved into the "Land of Hope and Glory" composer's sketch book in the British Library to reveal completed songs "The Muleteer's Serenade" and "The Millwheel".

Norris said he knew there were sketches for the two songs incorporated into the composition notes for Elgar's 1896 cantata "King Olaf", but it was thought that there were no original complete songs in existence.

"When I went and looked at the sketches we sort of gradually removed the later editions and came to realize that actually they weren't just sketches, there were complete solo songs underneath the later editions," Norris told Reuters on Wednesday.

Soprano Bethan Walters and pianist Barry Collett performed the "The Muleteer's Serenade" on the BBC's classical music station Radio 3 on Tuesday and the music will be heard again on Elgar's 156th birthday on June 2 at the Elgar Birthplace Museum in Worcester, central England.

It had been known that one of Britain's greatest composers at the turn of the 20th century had worked on the two songs because his wife Alice had noted their composition in her diary.

Elgar is a favorite of British classical music fans and his "Land of Hope and Glory" has long been sung at the flag-waving climax on the last night of the annual BBC Proms classical music festival in London's Royal Albert Hall.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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