The complete album, to be available digitally on the day, will be over 4 hours long. The physical version of the album (featuring the entire service and all new commissions) will then be available in stores globally from 15th May. A special Deluxe Collectors CD and vinyl will follow later in the year.
This major ceremonial occasion is to feature a range of musical styles and performers blending tradition, heritage and ceremony with the new musical voices of today, all reflecting The King’s life-long love and support of music and the arts. Amongst the performances are 12 newly composed pieces of music, showcasing talent from across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. His Majesty The King has commissioned the new music and shaped and selected the musical programme for the Service.
Six orchestral commissions, five choral commissions and one organ commission, have been specially written by world-renowned British composers whose work includes classical, sacred, film, television and musical theatre. Between them, the 12 composers have over 80 BAFTA, Oscar, Grammy, Tony, Olivier, Golden Globe, Emmy, World Soundtrack Award and ASCAP awards and nominations. Many have written for film and television – titles as diverse as Harry Potter, Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Emoji Movie, Wolf Hall, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates and Ladies in Lavender, as well as for international fashion houses such as Burberry, the Eurovision Song Contest, and the 2012 Olympics.
Included in these commissions is the “Coronation Anthem”, a brand new work composed for the occasion by Lord Lloyd Webber, entitled “Make A Joyful Noise”. A separate studio recording of this work will be released on 6th May, as well as the live recording from the ceremony itself. The studio recording features The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Choir of Westminster Abbey, The Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force and the Abbey sub-organist Peter Holder, conducted by organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey, Andrew Nethsingha. (See ‘Notes to Editors’ below for further information on commissioned works)
The Official Coronation Album will be produced by one of the world’s finest classical record producers, Anna Barry, who has produced over 500 recordings of distinction over 35 years, including the wedding of The then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018, previous works by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and recording projects from artists such as José Carreras, Elina Garanča, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Andrea Bocelli, the Sistine Chapel Choir, Lorin Maazel, Sir John Eliot Gardiner CBE and many more.
The multi-Grammy-nominated producer, Anna Barry, says of the Coronation recording, “This will be a truly historic recording, capturing a glorious range of music from across centuries and continents, reflecting the world-wide interest in our traditions, covering multiple locations in the wonderful acoustic of Westminster Abbey, and involving an unprecedented technical plan to present the entire experience to the world on the day itself. Balance engineer Mike Hatch, I and the team are honoured and excited to be a part of this.”
Decca Records – part of Universal Music Group- has previously released commemorative albums such as Her Majesty The Queen Mother’s 100th Birthday Celebrations (2000), as well as the Royal Wedding of The then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (2011), the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (2012) and the Royal Wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (2018). This new recording will be the next in a historic line marking major milestones for the royal family, and as such it will enter the homes of millions across the globe.
Co-Presidents of Decca Label Group, Tom Lewis and Laura Monks add, “Coronation services have been taking place since the 11th century. Never before has a complete recording been made available to global audiences to stream and download on the same day. Decca have a longstanding and proud association with the British royal family and we are delighted to be once again making recorded music history together.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury will be conducting the service and anointing and crowning the King and Queen.
At His Majesty’s request, performing the orchestral commissions is the Coronation Orchestra, whose membership comprises some of the world’s greatest musicians drawn from eight leading orchestras of The former Prince of Wales’ Patronages, from across the UK and Canada: the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Regina Symphony Orchestra (Saskatchewan, Canada), English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Opera House Orchestra and Welsh National Opera Orchestra. Music Director for the Royal Opera House and Chief Conductor Designate of the London Symphony Orchestra (from Sept 2023), Sir Antonio Pappano, will be conducting the Coronation Orchestra. Fanfares will be played by The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and The Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force directed by Wing Commander Piers Morrell OBE.
As well as the Coronation Anthem, “Make A Joyful Noise”, by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the other newly commissioned works include a Coronation March by Patrick Doyle, a new piece for solo organ embracing musical themes from countries across the Commonwealth by Iain Farrington plus new works by Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Paul Mealor, Tarik O’Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley J. Thompson OBE, Judith Weir CBE and Master of the King’s Music, Roderick Williams OBE, and Debbie Wiseman OBE. In addition, there are also newly commissioned arrangements by John Rutter CBE and Iain Farrington which includes new arrangements of significant works composed for past coronations and royal occasions.
Managing Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, James Williams, says of the album, “This recording provides a unique opportunity to capture a moment in musical history, allowing listeners around the world to share in the thrill of hearing every note and every word from the Coronation Service live from Westminster Abbey. Blending tradition with modernity, the music programme includes the world premiere of no less than 12 new commissions personally chosen by His Majesty The King, and it’s wonderful that this recording will amplify these new works to reach worldwide audiences.”
Soloists will include bass-baritone, Sir Bryn Terfel CBE; soprano, Pretty Yende and baritone, Roderick Williams OBE. Overseeing all musical arrangements and directing the music during the service is organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey, Andrew Nethsingha. The service will be sung by The Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal (together with girl choristers from the Chapel Choir of Methodist College, Belfast and from Truro Cathedral Choir and singers from the Monteverdi Choir), The Ascension Choir, The King’s Scholars of Westminster School and the Byzantine Chant Ensemble. The organ will be played by the Abbey Sub-Organist, Peter Holder during the service, and by Assistant Organist, Matthew Jorysz during the pre-service music.
In recognition of The King’s long-standing and deeply held relationship and affiliation with Wales, one of the liturgical sections of the ceremony be performed in Welsh, and the Official Royal Harpist Alis Huws will perform as part of the Coronation Orchestra, as well as during the pre-service music featuring as soloist in a new arrangement of a work by one of Britain’s most loved and celebrated living composers, Sir Karl Jenkins CBE, entitled Tros y Garreg (Crossing the Stone)
Alongside the newly-commissioned works, music by William Byrd (1543-1623), George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), Sir Edward Elgar OM, GCVO (1857-1934), Sir Henry Walford Davies KCVO OBE (1869-1941), Sir William Walton OM (1902-1983), Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918) and Ralph Vaughan Williams OM (1872-1958) has historically featured in the service over the past four centuries and will be included in the programme.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner CBE will conduct the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in a pre-Service programme of choral music, which will be included in the digital version of the recording, and then the ‘Deluxe’ to follow.
For more information on the New Music Commissions for the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey please go to: www.royal.uk/coronation-music-commissions
THE CORONATION OF THEIR MAJESTIES KING CHARLES III & QUEEN CAMILLA: THE OFFICIAL ALBUM, RECORDED AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY, WILL BE RELEASED ON 6TH MAY 2023 ON DECCA.
WITH THIS RELEASE DECCA WILL BE SUPPORTING THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION (REGISTERED CHARITY NUMBER: 219279) & AGE UK (REGISTERED CHARITY NUMBER: 1128267) – DETAILS TO BE CONFIRMED PRIOR TO RELEASE.