Artists speak of joy behind new music for King’s coronation

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The artists who have crafted the new music that will be played at the King’s coronation have spoken of 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 the 12 new compositions for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey on May 6.

Lord Lloyd-Webber said he has already played a version of his piece – Make A Joyful Noise, A Coronation Anthem – to Charles but he remained tightlipped about the royal response he received.

He said: “I had the good fortune to discuss the text with His Majesty The King.

Coronation anthem
 Andrew Lloyd Webber (Joe Giddens/PA)

“I played, and tried to sing, my early score for the King a few weeks ago.

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

“The anthem is scored for the wonderful Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Coronation Orchestra.”

Charles has personally selected the musical programme for the ceremony, which has been designed to showcase a range of talent and styles from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

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 optimistic rising scales of the music suggest renewal and hope for the future”, she said.

The coronation will feature 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 theatre.

Paul Mealor
Paul Mealor (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

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

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

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

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

London stock
Westminster Abbey (Anthony Devlin/PA)

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

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

A two-part composition, Alleluia (O Clap Your Hands) and Alleluia (O Sing Praises), has been commissioned from award-winning TV and film composer Debbie Wiseman and will also be played at the ceremony.

Artist Roxanna Panufnik said the music in her work – Coronation Sanctus – “quickly builds and finishes ecstatically, with organ fanfares and flamboyantly colourful harmonies”.

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

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