Handel: The Royal Coronation of George II of England
The Coronation of George II in 1727 was a magnificent event, deploying great pump and ceremonial magnified by equally splendid music. The new king asked Handel, then a famous opera composer, to create the music for this grand ceremony which would take place in Westminster Abbey.
The result is one of the finest ceremonial compositions ever written for a coronation in England.
Handel’s inspiration was at its apogee and he wrote four new anthems: Zadok the Priest for the unction (which was immediately so successful and popular that it is sung at each coronation), My heart is inditing (for the Queen’s coronation), The King shall rejoice for the coronation and Let my hand be strengthened for the enthronement. With these four triumphal anthems, ceremonial compositions by other composers were sung such as O Lord, give the King a long life by William Child, plain-chant for Come, Holy ghost, Behold O God our defender and God spake sometime in visions by Blow, the anthem I was glad when they said unto me by Purcell, a Te Deum by Orlondo Gibbons, and also the intimate supplication of Tallis’s Litanies, interspersed with superb fanfares and drum processions.
This new reconstitution of the coronation uses all parts of the church where it is performed, with drum processions, fanfares with six trumpets and the King’s Consort choir together with the full King’s Consort orchestra.
Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759)
The Royal Coronation of George II of England
A grandiose reconstitution of the King George II’s coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey in 1727.
Music by Handel, Purcell, Blow, with processions of drums and trumpets.