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Friday, 29 April 2011

Music for the Royal Wedding

The Royal Wedding
Prince William & Catherine Middleton
Friday 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey

Music for the Wedding Service
As announced on 28th April 2011

rince William and Miss Catherine Middleton are pleased to announce the music for their Wedding Service.  The music has a largely British theme. The Couple have put considerable thought into selecting the music, and their choices blend traditional music with some newly commissioned pieces. 

Before the Service

The music before the Service will begin with a selection of organ pieces:

1. Fantasia in G (Pièce d’orgue à 5) by Johann Sebastian Bach, followed by
2. Veni Creator Spiritus by the Master of The Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies;
3. Prelude on St. Columba Op. 28 by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and
4. Sonata for Organ Op. 28 (Allegro maestoso and Allegretto) by Edward Elgar.

Following this will be seven orchestral pieces:

1. Serenade for Strings in E minor Op. 20 (Allegro piacevole, Larghetto and Allegretto) by Edward Elgar
2. Courtly Dance V: Galliard from Gloriana (Symphonic Suite) Op. 53a no. 7 by Benjamin Britten
3. Fantasia on Greensleeves by Ralph Vaughan Williams
4. Farewell to Stromness by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
5. On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring by Frederick Delius
6. Touch Her Soft Lips and Part from Henry V Suite by William Walton
7. Romance for String Orchestra Op. 11 by Gerald Finzi

Three of these pieces – Farewell to Stromness, Touch Her Soft Lips and Part and Romance for String Orchestra Op. 11were played at the Service of Prayer and Dedication for The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005.  The Couple specifically chose these pieces for that reason.  The final piece of music before the Service begins continues the broadly British theme: Canzona from Organ Sonata in C minor by Percy Whitlock. 

Processional Music

The Service will begin with a Fanfare by The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry to mark the arrival of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.  The Fanfare will be followed by three Processionals.  For the Procession of The Queen, Prince William and Miss Middleton have chosen March from The Birds by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry.  Prelude on Rhosymedre by Ralph Vaughan Williams will accompany the Procession of the Clergy, and was chosen for its Welsh echoes.  The Couple have selected ‘I was Glad’, also by Parry, for the Procession of the Bride.           


Prince William and Miss Middleton have chosen three hymns for the Service: ‘Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer’, words by William Williams, translated by Peter Williams and others, and music by John Hughes.  The second will be ‘Love Divine All Love Excelling’, words by Charles Wesley and music by William Penfro Rowlands.  The third will be ‘Jerusalem’, by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, words by William Blake.  All three hymns have been chosen because they are favourites of the Couple.

The Anthem and Motet

1. The Anthem, ‘This is the day which the Lord hath made’, has been composed specially for the occasion by John Rutter.  It was commissioned by Westminster Abbey as a wedding present for Prince William and Miss Middleton and will be performed by both the Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal Choir.  Mr. Rutter is a British composer, conductor, editor and arranger who specialises in choral music.   

2. The Anthem will be followed by the Motet ‘Ubi caritas’ by Paul Mealor, a Welsh composer, who is currently Reader in Composition at The University of Aberdeen.

Mr. Mealor’s composing studio is on the Isle of Anglesey, where Prince William and Miss Middleton live. This version of ‘Ubi caritas’ was written on Anglesey and premiered at the University of St. Andrews in November 2010. 

3. The National Anthem will be sung immediately before the Signing of the Registers.

The Signing of the Registers and the Recessional

1. During the Signing of the Registers, the choirs will sing ‘Blest pair of Sirens’, words by John Milton from At a Solemn Musick, music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. 
2. Following the Signing, there will be a Fanfare by the Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.  The Fanfare, called Valiant and Brave, after the motto of No. 22 Squadron (Search and Rescue Force) was specially composed for this Service by Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs, Principal Director of Music in the Royal Air Force.
3. The Recessional, for the Procession of the Bride and Bridegroom, will be Crown Imperial by William Walton. 
4-5. Toccata from Symphonie V  by Charles-Marie Widor and Pomp and Circumstance March no. 5 by Edward Elgar will follow the Service.    


The church organ was played by Robert Quinney, a 35-year-old musician from Sheffield, who learned to play the instrument at Ecclesall Parish Church. He has been sub-organist at Westminster Abbey since 2004 and also has a career as soloist, ensemble player and music writer.

Royal Wedding Musicians
As announced on 28th April 2011
Two choirs, one orchestra and two fanfare teams will perform the music at the Wedding Service of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29th. These are:

- The Choir of Westminster Abbey
- The Choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal, St James's Palace
- The London Chamber Orchestra
- The Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force
- The State Trumpeters of The Household Cavalry

Both choirs will be under the direction of Mr James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey. The Choir of Westminster Abbey is made up of 20 boys, all of whom attend the Abbey's dedicated residential Choir School, and 12 professional adult singers, known as Lay Vicars. In addition to singing the daily choral services in the Abbey throughout the year, the choir plays a central role in the many Royal, State and national occasions which take place at the Abbey.

The Abbey's Sub Organist, Robert Quinney, will play the organ.

The Chapel Royal Choir consists of ten Children of the Chapel, boy choristers who hold scholarships at City of London School, and six Gentlemen-in-Ordinary, who are professional singers. The Chapel Royal Choir has existed since at least the Norman Conquest. The Organist, Choir Master and Composer at Her Majesty's Chapel Royal is Dr. Andrew Gant. The Choir's duties are to sing the weekly service in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace and to perform for the Sovereign on other occasions, including at the weddings of Members of the Royal Family. The distinctive State uniforms worn by the Children date from the reign of Charles II.

The London Chamber Orchestra will be conducted by Mr Christopher Warren-Green, its Music Director and Principal Conductor. The orchestra will comprise 39 musicians located in the organ loft of the Abbey. The LCO is the longest established professional chamber orchestra in the United Kingdom, having been founded in 1921 by Anthony Bernard. The Duchess of Cornwall is a patron of the orchestra. Mr. Warren-Green has conducted numerous concerts for the Royal Family.

A Fanfare Team of seven musicians from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force will perform under the direction of Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs. The Central Band was established in 1920 and provides musical support to the Royal Air Force throughout the U.K.. In addition to their musical duties, Royal Air Force musicians also serve overseas in support of the broader Defence cause.

The State Trumpeters of The Household Cavalry comprises musicians from both The Band of The Life Guards and The Band of The Blues and Royals. The Fanfare Team of eight Trumpeters will be led by Trumpet Major Grant Sewell-Jones of The Band of The Blues and Royals. In addition to their musical duties, all Army Musicians can be called upon to act as individual augmentee soldiers in support of operations across the world.

Following the Wedding Service at Westminster Abbey, Claire Jones, the Official Harpist to The Prince of Wales will perform at the Reception given by The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

— Courtesy of St. James's Palace

Originally posted on Friday, 29 April 2011

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