london — Andrew Lloyd Webber, the English composer who created the scores for such famous operas as “Cats,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Evita,” wrote the anthem for the coronation of King Charles III, adapting a piece church. music that encourages singers to make a “joyous noise”.
Webber’s work is one of a dozen new pieces commissioned by Charles for the big event which took place on May 6 at Westminster Abbey. It includes words adapted from Psalm 98 and scored specifically for the Abbey choir and organ.
“I hope my song reflects this joyous occasion,” Webber said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.
The program for the king’s coronation ceremony includes older music and new compositions as the Palace tries to blend traditional and modern elements that reflect the realities of Britain today. New pieces were created by artists with roots in all four of the United Kingdom’s constituent nations, as well as the Commonwealth and foreign countries that brought so many to its shores.
The service will include works by William Byrd (1543–1623), George Frideric Handel (1685–1759), Edward Elgar (1857–1934), Henry Walford Davies (1869–1941), William Walton (1902–1983), Hubert Parry ( 1848–1918) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958), whose music has featured in previous coronations, along with a piece by contemporary British composer Karl Jenkins.
There will also be new works by Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Paul Mealor, Tarik O’Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley J. Thompson, Judith Weir, Roderick Williams and Debbie Wiseman.
“The decision to combine the old and the new reflects the cultural breadth of the age we live in,” said Andrew Nethsingha, organist and master of choirs at Westminster Abbey.
“Coronations have been held in Westminster Abbey since 1066. It was a privilege to collaborate with His Majesty to select fine musicians and accessible, communicative music for this great occasion,” said Nethsingha.
In total, six orchestral commissions, five choral commissions and one organ commission — spanning the classical, sacred, film, television and musical theater genres — were created for the coronation.
The program will also include personal touches, including a musical tribute to Charles’ late father, Prince Philip, who was born a Greek prince. The new monarch requested Greek Orthodox music, which will be performed by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble.
Although details of some of the content are being kept under wraps, one hymn will definitely be part of the service: “Zadok the Priest” by Handel.
The hymn, with its strong chorus “God Save the King,” has been played at every coronation since it was commissioned for the coronation of King George II in 1727.