Thursday, May 31, 2012


Music from the Queen's Coronation, 1953
Chelmsford Cathedral

A glorious curtain-raiser to the Jubilee celebrations, this Choral Foundation concert was a reminder of the wonderful music heard in Westminster Abbey when our Queen was crowned.
Not a reconstruction, of course. The Abbey boasted 400 voices, and here there were more brass players than men's voices. But a showcase of the great British music, which, across the centuries, has accompanied this solemn ritual, set in historical context by a commentary from the Reverend Prebendary William Scott.

Beginning with the stirring bombast of Parry's I Was Glad, written for Edward VII, and heard last year at the Royal Wedding. There was Crown Imperial, too, and Zadok the Priest, as well as Walton's Coronation Te Deum, which received its first performance that June day, as did Dyson's joyful Confortare, Harris's Gradual and Healey Willan's O Lord Our Governour. Choral music from the age of the first Elizabeth was represented by Byrd's beautiful Sing Joyfully, sung by the boys and men. The twentieth century gave us Vaughan Williams' O Taste and See, with a striking treble solo, and Stanford's exhilarating Gloria [George V]. The whole Cathedral rose to sing The Old Hundredth, and Gordon Jacob's Coronation arrangement of the National Anthem.
The Cathedral Choir and Consort, with the Westminster Brass and Simon Lawford at the organ, were conducted by Oliver Waterer.
The next special occasion from the Choral Foundation is an eagerly awaited appearance by The Swingle Singers, coming to the Cathedral on September 28.

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