The Full Works Concert – Monday 10 June: A Coronation Concert

An exclusive broadcast of a special concert from London's Royal Festival Hall, marking the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Last Tuesday at London's Royal Festival Hall, a special concert took place marking the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953.

The 300 combined voices of the Crouch End Festival Chorus, Hertfordshire Chorus and the Dessoff Choirs joined the London Orchestra da Camera to recall and celebrate the music from this momentous event.

The music includes Handel's Zadok the Priest, one of four Coronation Anthems that he composed for the coronation of George II in 1727. It has been sung at every subsequent coronation, traditionally performed during the sovereign's anointing.

Parry's I was glad is also traditionally sung at coronations. Settings of the verse from Psalm 122 for earlier coronations were composed by Henry Purcell and William Boyce, among others. Parry's version was written for the coronation of King Edward VII and revised in 1911 for that of King George V.

William Walton wrote Coronation Anthems for two monarchs - Crown Imperial for King George VI and Orb and Sceptre - which we will hear tonight - for the 1953 Coronation.

In the second part of the concert, all the forces joined together to perform Sir William Walton's dramatic Belshazzar's Feast.

First performed at the Leeds Festival in 1931, the cantata retells an Old Testament story set during the period when the Jews are in exile in Babylon. After a feast at which Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, commits sacrilege by using the Jews' sacred vessels to praise the heathen gods, he is miraculously killed, the kingdom falls, and the Jews regain their freedom.

Walton's music throughout is strongly rhythmic, and richly orchestrated. Its rhythms and harmonies reflect Walton’s interest in jazz and other popular music, pressed into service to tell a religious tale.


George Frideric Handel: Zadok the Priest (Coronation Anthem No.1)

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves

Hubert Parry: I was glad

William Walton: Coronation March, Orb and Sceptre

Edward Elgar: Nimrod from Enigma Variations

William Walton: Coronation Te Deum for chorus, orchestra & organ

Edward Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 in D

William Walton: Belshazzar's Feast

Crouch End Festival Chorus
Hertfordshire Chorus
The Dessoff Choirs
London Orchestra da Camera
Baritone: Ashley Riches
Conductor: David Temple