New music commissioned for the Coronation

The music will reflect the UK and Commonwealth talent

Twelve new pieces of music, commissioned by The King, will be performed during The Coronation at Westminster Abbey on 6th May, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The music aims to showcase the range of talent from across the UK and the Commonwealth.

A range of styles and performers will blend tradition, heritage and ceremony with new musical voices of today, reflecting The King’s life-long love and support of music and the arts.

Andrew Nethsingha, Organist and Master of the Choristers, Westminster Abbey, will oversee all musical arrangements and directing the music on the day.

The Queen’s coronation in 1953 (Library and Archives Canada, K-0000045)

Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director for the Royal Opera House, will be conducting the Coronation Orchestra, which comprises a bespoke collection of musicians drawn from orchestras of the former Prince of Wales’ Patronages, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

A tribute will also be paid to the late Duke of Edinburgh who passed away in 2021, where Greek Orthodox music will also feature in the service, performed by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble.

Six orchestral commissions, five choral commissions and one organ commission have been specially composed for the occasion. World-renowned British composers – whose work includes classical, sacred, film, television and musical theatre – have worked on the pieces.

Commissioned works include:

– a new Coronation Anthem by Andrew Lloyd Webber,
– a Coronation March by Patrick Doyle,
– a new commission for solo organ embracing musical themes from countries across the Commonwealth by Iain Farrington,
– new works by Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Paul Mealor, Tarik O’Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley J. Thompson, Judith Weir, Roderick Williams, and Debbie Wiseman.

Soloists will include bass-baritone, Sir Bryn Terfel; soprano, Pretty Yende and baritone, Roderick Williams. The organ will be played by Sub-Organist, Westminster Abbey, Peter Holder, and Assistant Organist, Westminster Abbey, Matthew Jorysz.

The official Royal Harpist Alis Huws (appointed by Charles in 2019) will perform as part of the Coronation Orchestra in recognition of The King’s ‘long-standing and deeply held relationship and affiliation’ with Wales. One of the liturgical sections of the ceremony will also be performed in Welsh, to reflect this connection.

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The service will be sung by The Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, together with girl choristers from the Chapel Choir of Methodist College, Belfast and from Truro Cathedral Choir. The Ascension Choir, a handpicked gospel choir, will also perform as part of the service and The King’s Scholars of Westminster School will proclaim the traditional ‘Vivat’ acclamations.

Fanfares will be played by The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and The Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force on the day.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner will conduct The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque soloists in a pre-service programme of choral music. A small group of singers from The Monteverdi Choir will also join the main choral group.

Historically, music by the likes of William Byrd, George Friederic Handel, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Henry Walford Davies, Sir William Walton, Sir Hubert Parry and Ralph Vaughan Williams has featured in the Coronation Service, and will be included in the programme along with the music of one of Britain’s most loved and celebrated living composers, Sir Karl Jenkins.

In recent news about the Coronation, we’ve heard how The Queen will be wearing Queen Mary’s Crown, which has been removed from the Tower of London and The King will be wearing St Edward’s Crown, which has recently been returned to the Tower of London following its resizing.

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