For his coronation on May 6th, King Charles III. commissioned a total of twelve pieces of music, including a hymn by British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. The monarch himself chose the musical program for the ceremony in London's Westminster Abbey, the palace said. The selection reflects the breadth of musical talent and styles from the UK and Commonwealth.
In memory of his father Prince Philip, who died in 2021 and had Greek roots, Charles also chose a piece of Greek Orthodox sacred music.
The ceremony is the first coronation of a British monarch in 70 years. The celebration is said to be significantly smaller and more modern than the coronation of Charles' mother Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. She died on September 8, 2022, and her eldest son has been king ever since.
Webber is "incredibly honored"
In total, there are six orchestral works, five choral works and an organ solo, as the palace further announced. Composer Lloyd Webber ("Phantom of the Opera", "Evita") was "tremendously honored". "I hope my anthem reflects this happy occasion," he said. The Coronation March was written by the composer Patrick Doyle, and Iain Farrington incorporated musical themes from the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations into his organ piece.
Gospel singers from different groups form a "Coronation Choir", the "Coronation Orchestra" made up of members of famous bands and conducted by Antonio Pappano, Musical Director of the Royal Opera House. "His Majesty has selected a very beautiful and varied program that will add to the splendor of this very special celebration," said Pappano.
The soloists will include the Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, the South African soprano Pretty Yende and the English baritone Roderick Williams. Classical music, for example by Georg Friedrich Handel, who lived in London, and Edward Elgar will also be heard.