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Itinerary of King Charles’ coronation service: what is known about the music and readings?

A new anthem ‘Make A Joyful Noise’ has been composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the event. It will be the centerpiece in the day’s musical program.

A new anthem ‘Make A Joyful Noise’ has been composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the event. It will be the centerpiece in the day’s musical program.

King Charles’ coronation at Westminster Abbey on Saturday will feature a broad range of music from traditional anthems which date back to King George II’s anointment in 1727, to pieces that have been personally hand selected by the monarch and a new anthem - one of 12 new commissions, which has been specially composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It will be a celebration of music, encompassing both traditional and modern works from the British Isles and Commonwealth.

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All of the musical content from Saturday’s coronations will be recorded and released in various formats with proceeds going to charities including the Royal British Legion and Age UK. The music will continue on Sunday 7 May with the Coronation Concert on the East Lawn at Windsor Castle featuring an array of artists such as Take That, Katy Perry, Freya Ridings, Lionel Ritchie, Andrea Bocelli, Olly Murs, Nicole Scherzinger and Bryn Terfel. The concert will be broadcast live by the BBC.

English composer Sir Hubert Parry is a particular favourite of the King. His anthem I was Glad has commissioned for King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902 and has been sung at every coronation of a British monarch since. Parry based his piece on verses from Psalms 122 (1-3, 6, 7) from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. A section of the piece has been re-worked each time a new monarch has been crowned from the 20th Century onwards. I was Glad will be played as King Charles and Queen Camilla enter Westminster Abbey.

‘Make a Joyful Noise’

British composer Lord Lloyd Webber, who is a close friend of King Charles was commissioned to come up with a new anthem. His composition, Make a Joyful Noise, will be performed when the Queen is enthroned. The anthem was inspired by a line from the King James Bible version of Psalm 98, published in 1611.

Psalm 98

  • “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: Make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the Lordwith the harp; With the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet Make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; The world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: Let the hills be joyful together Before the Lord; For he cometh to judge the earth: With righteousness shall he judge the world, And the people with equity”.

Lord Lloyd Webber explained in a recent interview for ITV “What the King said to me was that he’d hoped it would be tuneful, and that it might survive beyond the coronation. If you’ve got a title like Make a Joyful Noise, which is the central part of Psalm 98, it’s a gift for a composer, isn’t it? You’ve got something that people can sing and hopefully, it will be something that will be sung at weddings, I don’t know”.

Another highlight will be Zadok the Priest which was originally set to music by German composer Georg Frideric Handel for King George II’s coronation in 1727. It has featured in all nine of the subsequent coronation services of every British monarch since then. The choir will sing the anthem as the King is anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury with coronation oil pressed from olives harvested from two groves on the Mount of Olives, at the Monastery of Mary Magdalene and the Monastery of the Ascension.

Welsh connection

Charles has long held a close association to Wales. He was made Prince of Wales in 1958 when he was just nine years old and later formerly invested in Caernarfon in July 1969 when he was 20. He also studied at Aberystwyth University, attempting to learn as much of the language as he could and verse himself in Welsh history and culture.

He specially commissioned a piece for his coronation - a Kyrie eleison is the first part of the traditional Mass and traditionally has Greek lyrics but on this occasion, it will be sung in Welsh.

The British Isles’ other Celtic languages - Gaelic (Irish and Scottish) will also be heard at Charles’ coronation. The hymn Veni Creator - Come Creator Spirit will feature a verse sung in English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic. The ancient text became part of the Coronation Service in the 14th Century. It will be sung following the oaths and prayers.

Other musical interludes include solo performances from Sir Bryn Terfel, Pretty Yende and Roderick Williams. The coronation will be concluded with a rendition of the national anthem, God Save the King as Charles and Camilla begin the Outward Procession.

National anthem

God Save The King was originally a patriotic song which was first performed in two London theatres in 1745, and later became known as the National Anthem at the beginning of the nineteenth century making it, alongside the Netherlands’ Wilhelmus, the two oldest national anthems in the world.

The complete running order of Saturday’s Coronations service, readings and music, was published by the Church of England on Saturday 29 April and can be found here: