Published by Tim Cockell on Wed, 1 Jun 2022 20:35

Notes on the Music for Jubilee Choral Evensong

The music being used in the Choral Evensong this evening reflects that used at the Coronation of our queen in 1953 and in previous coronations. Some of the music was specially composed for the occasion, other pieces were rearranged.

We begin the service with O Taste and See, an anthem specially composed for the coronation by Vaughan Williams. This is followed by the popular hymn known as Old Hundredth or All people that on earth do dwell. The arrangement used today and featuring trumpets played by Katherine Owen and Peter Raistrick is the version arranged by Vaughan Williams for the coronation in 1953.

Most coronations have featured a Te Deum. Although Stanford in B flat Te Deum was not the version used in 1953, that was composed by Walton, Stanford in B flat was used at the end of the service of the coronation of Edward VII in 1903. It was realised that they had forgotten to ask Stanford to compose something for the coronation and Walter Parratt, at the last minute, asked Stanford if he could supply a Te Deum for use at the end of the service. He did, by using a version he had already composed way back in 1879 but to which he added a seven bar fanfare and this is the version we are using. We have paired the Te Deum with Stanford’s Evening Service in B flat, the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis.

Some of our hymns also have royal connections. Praise my soul the King of Heaven was sung at the wedding of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth; the Pentecost hymn, Come Holy Ghost our souls inspire reminds us that today is also Pentecost but it was also sung at the coronation in 1953 but to an arrangement by Earnest Bullock. We end the service by singing Now thank we all our God and whilst it might not have any royal connections as far as I know it is a very fitting hymn for the end of a service celebrating 70 years on the throne.

The version of the National Anthem is not the Elgar arrangement but a more congregational friendly one as it is a lot lower.

The organ music at the start and end of the music also has royal connections. Part of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No 1 March will be played at the start of the service and the final piece of music will be Walton’s Crown Imperial - a shortened version - both of which featured in the coronation albeit Crown Imperial before the Coronation and Pomp and Circumstance after it.

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