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British Royals

First details of Coronation service revealed as new music is announced

The first details of the Coronation service have been shared as details of the brand new music composed for the ceremony are announced.

Before the service begins, a short composition by Judith Weir, Master of the King’s Music, will be played by the Coronation orchestra, the first time they will perform.

The overture is called ”Brighter Visions Shine Afar” which takes its title from lines in the Christmas carol ‘Angels from the Realms of Glory’.

Judith Weir said ”The opening passage highlights the horns, an instrument historically associated in music and art with nobility.”

The Coronation Orchestra will later perform ”Tros y Garreg”by Sir Karl Jenkins. The version is a new arrangement of Sir Karl’s setting of a traditional Welsh folk song. The orchestra will be joined by Alis Huws, the royal harpist, for this performance. The music has been included to reflect King Charles III’s lifelong devotion to Wales.

That strong link to the principality is also reflected in the ‘Coronation Kyrie’ by Paul Mealor which will be the first Welsh language performance at a Coronation. It will be sung by Sir Bryn Terfel along with the Choir of Westminster Abbey.

Another of The King’s favourite pieces of music has been re-interpreted for the Coronation. Nigel Hess, Roderick Williams and Shirley J Thompson have worked on ”Be Thou My Vision – A Triptych for Orchestra’ which creates responses to the traditional hymn and melds them together into a piece of music.

There is also a new organ commission by Iain Farrington called ”Voices of the World” to be played on organ. It includes traditional tunes from across the Commonwealth. Iain Farrington said the piece is ‘“all mixed together in a joyful, jazzy and dance-like character”.

Happiness is also at the heart of the new Coronation anthem, Make A Joyful Noise, which .has been composed by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Sir Andrew said ‘‘“I had the good fortune to discuss the text with His Majesty The King. We discussed the writings of Solomon and I suggested adapting Psalm 98 with its message of “Make A Joyful Noise unto the Lord, the King”. It seems so appropriate to the moment in the Coronation service.”

Film composer, Patrick Doyle, has written a new piece of music called ”King Charles III Coronation March” which has been created to celebrate His Majesty’s life.

The Coronation Orchestra, which will play much of the music, will be led by Vasko Vassilev, the Principal Guest Concert Master of the Royal Opera House Orchestra. The conductor will be Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director for the Royal Opera House.

The Coronation takes place on May 6 2023 at Westminster Abbey.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.