In the final episode of Dr David Starkey’s examination of how the monarchy has influenced British music, audiences will witness how the nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw a revival of royal pomp, pageantry and formality. Music for royal ceremonies reflected the growing imperial power and Britain’s dominance across the globe; whilst it also helped the public reconnect with the monarchy as a national symbol.
Within the walls of Buckingham Palace, Starkey will allow us a charming insight into some of the music that Prince Albert wrote specially for his beloved wife, Queen Victoria. Viewers will get to see the golden piano which was owned and played by both Albert and Victoria, along with the diamond-encrusted conductor’s baton which was owned by Victoria’s private organist, Sir Walter Parratt.
Starkey will also determine the origins of celebrated and patriotic songs such as Edward Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and William Walton’s ‘Crown Imperial’. He will look into the historical significance of the Brighton Pavilion, known as George IV’s palace of pleasure, where the king would enlighten his closest courtiers with duets with Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini.
There will be recorded performances of familiar songs from the likes of Arthur Sullivan, Felix Mendelssohn and Charles Villiers Stanford, alongside Hubert Parry’s famous ‘Jerusalem’, renowned for its connections with the WI.
The last episode of this series will be broadcasted on Saturday evening at 8:10pm on BBC Two.
Photo credit: BBC/OFTV/Phil Heron