Artists talk joy behind new music for king’s coronation

The artists behind the new music to be played at the king’s coronation have spoken about the joy behind their creations.

An anthem written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a “jubilant and uplifting” coronation march created by Patrick Doyle are among 12 new compositions for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 6 May.

Lord Lloyd-Webber said he had already played a version of his piece – Make A Joyful Noise, A Coronation Anthem – to Charles, but he was aghast at the royal response he received.

He said: ‘I was lucky enough to discuss the text with HM the King.

Coronation hymn

Andrew Lloyd Webber (Joe Giddens/PA)

“We discussed Solomon’s writings and I suggested adapting Psalm 98 with its message of ‘Cry for joy to the Lord the King.’ It feels so fitting at the time of the coronation service.

“I played and rehearsed my first score for the King a few weeks ago.

“I have composed a short opening and closing fanfare, to be played by the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force.

“The anthem is composed by the wonderful Westminster Abbey Choir and the Coronation Orchestra.”

Charles personally selected the music program for the ceremony, which was designed to showcase a range of UK and Commonwealth talents and styles.

A short overture composed by Judith Weir will be the first performance by the Coronation Orchestra.

It features horns, “an instrument historically associated in music and art with nobility,” and “the music’s upbeat rising scales suggest renewal and hope for the future,” he said.

The coronation will include six orchestral commissions, five choral commissions and one organ commission, specially composed for the occasion by British composers whose styles include classical, sacred, film, television and musical music.

Paul Melor

Paul Mealor (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Paul Mealor’s composition – Coronation Kyrie – to be sung by bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel and Westminster Abbey Choir, will be the first Welsh-language performance at a coronation.

Mr Mealor, who described it as ‘a meditative and introspective piece’, said: ‘I was inspired by the great Welsh tunes – Aberystwyth, Cwm Rhondda, Ar Lan Y Mor – and the composition is colored by the harmonies of these songs.

“It is a deep-souled cry from the hills and dales of Wales for hope, peace, love and friendship.”

A new arrangement has been made for Sir Karl Jenkins’ Welsh folk song, Tros y Garreg (Crossing The Stone). It will be played by the Coronation Orchestra and Royal Harpist Alis Huws.

South African soprano Pretty Yende will bring to life a work by classical and film composer Sarah Class entitled Sacred Fire for the coronation.

London Stock Exchange

Westminster Abbey (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Of the piece, Ms Class said: “Above all, the song is a celebration of love, faith and unity, both the lyrics and the music reflect the sacred flame of the soul, ever present in all beings and in all the things”.

A trio of composers – Nigel Hess, Roderick Williams and Shirley J Thompson – have created a new work based on one of Charles’ favorite hymns, Be Thou My Vision – Triptic For Orchestra.

Iain Farrington hopes his celebratory organ commission piece – Voices Of The World – will “get people’s toes tapping” as it is a diverse mix that has a “joyful, jazzy, dance-like character”.

A two-part composition, Alleluia (O Clap Your Hands) and Alleluia (O Sing Praises), was commissioned from award-winning film and television composer Debbie Wiseman and will be performed at the ceremony.

Artist Roxanna Panufnik said the music in her work – Coronation Sanctus – “builds rapidly and finishes ecstatically, with organ fanfares and gaudy-colored harmonies.”

Composer Tarik O’Regan predicted his work would be a moment of reflection during the service.

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