If your household is like ours, you’ve watched a lot of the TV coverage on the upcoming Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. This morning, we were very excited to receive, by email, the complete list of all the music which will be performed for the wedding at Westminster Abbey. It means that we are staying up late tonight after choir rehearsal, because the ceremony will take place at 12 midnight, Hawaii time. I was especially interested to learn that a lot of the music is familiar to us — it’s music we’ve performed at LCH.
Carl was excited to see that there will be music by one of his favorite composers, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music. In the LCH choir library, we sing his Carol on St. Stephen, Jesus autem hodie, O magnum mysterium, Te lucis terminum, and One star, at last. And tonight, in fact, we read through another of Maxwell Davies’ anthems, called Dum complerentur dies which we are preparing for Pentecost. His music is quite challenging, to say the least, for its acute dissonances and is not for the faint of heart! I found an interesting interview on YouTube with Sir Maxwell Davies on his composition and conducting, and how he had to hear boo-ing from the audience! I think, though, that the LCH Choir has grown to appreciate his unique compositional style, even if it takes a lot of work!
The procession of the Clergy will be Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Prelude on Rhosymedre, one of my favorite organ pieces, and one which I play frequently. In fact, I am teaching the piece right now to one of my young organ students, and when I found out it was on the repertoire for the wedding, I emailed his mom to let her know about it!
The bride’s processional will be a choral anthem, “I was glad” by Sir Hubert Parry. This is a piece we have sung on a number of occasions, not only in our own venue, but in collaboration with St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir under the direction of their former music director and organist, John McCreary.
There will be three pieces for the Recessional, including Crown Imperial by William Walton, Toccata from Symphonie V by Charles-Marie Widor and Pomp and Circumstance by Edward Elgar. The Widor Toccata is probably one of the top 5 well-known organ pieces in the repertoire, and was played at the wedding of Prince William’s parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, another wedding we stayed up late to watch.