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King Charles’ coronation to feature 12 new pieces of music

By: Reuters February 19,2023 - 07:43 AM

Britain's King Charles

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s King Charles visits the Africa Centre in Southwark, London, Britain, January 26, 2023. Jack Hill/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON — Twelve newly commissioned pieces of music will play at the coronation of Britain’s King Charles at Westminster Abbey this May, including Greek Orthodox music, Buckingham Palace said, with the 18th century “Zadok the Priest” also to be featured.

Six orchestral commissions, five choral commissions, and one organ commission have been composed for the occasion, the palace said Saturday, including a new Coronation Anthem by musical theater impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber.

“A range of musical styles and performers blend tradition, heritage, and ceremony with new musical voices of today, reflecting The King’s lifelong love and support of music and the arts,” the palace said in a statement.

It also said Charles requested Greek Orthodox music, which can be traced back to the Byzantine period, to be featured in the service in tribute to his father, Prince Philip, who was born on the Greek island of Corfu. He died in 2021.

Fanfares will be played by The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and The Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force, the palace said.

One of the liturgical sections of the ceremony will also be performed in Welsh to reflect Charles’s “long-standing and deeply held relationship and affiliation with Wales,” according to the statement.

Music by classical composers including George Frideric Handel, Edward Elgar, Hubert Parry, and Ralph Vaughan Williams, some of which has historically featured in the service for 400 years, will be included in the program, along with the music of living Welsh composer Karl Jenkins.

Music by Elgar, Parry, and Williams were also performed at the crowning of Charles’s late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953.

Handel’s coronation anthem “Zadok the Priest,” which was composed for the coronation of King George II in 1727, will be played at the ceremony, the palace said.

“I have scored it for the Westminster Abbey choir and organ, the ceremonial brass and orchestra. I hope my anthem reflects this joyful occasion,” composer Lloyd Webber said of his coronation anthem in the statement.


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