An English Coronation 1902-1953 (2CD)

Current Stock:
Gabrieli Consort and Players, Paul McCreesh

The four coronations of the twentieth century were enormous and extravagant. Replete with festive pageantry, these ceremonies were joyful celebrations of British music, employing tremendous forces. Choirs from across London and beyond were marshalled to provide a chorus of over 400 voices; a full-size symphony orchestra was squeezed into Westminster Abbey, whilst bands of fanfare trumpeters led the pomp and celebration.


In the imposing surroundings of Ely Cathedral, Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli bring the history, ceremony and liturgy of these  extraordinary events to life. With his renowned creative flair, McCreesh’s painstaking research will provides the springboard for their latest ground-breaking recreation project. The result will is a joyful celebration of five centuries of choral music, performed with the same vast forces as were heard at the coronation services. Alongside an orchestra of rare early-twentieth century instruments, an extended Gabrieli Consort is amplified by the energetic sound and fresh faces of several hundred young singers from Gabrieli’s choral training programme Gabrieli Roar. The music is interspersed by the coronation liturgy, with Simon Russell Beale speaking the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



  1. Edward Elgar Coronation March
  2. Herbert Howells The King’s Herald
  3. Martin Luther, harmony by JS Bach Hymn: Rejoice today with one accord
  4. Charles Wood O most merciful
  5. Thomas Tallis Litany
  6. Watts, Attrib. William Croft Hymn: O God, our help in ages past Isaac
  7. Charles Hubert Hastings Parry Chorale Fantasia on O God, our help
  8. Edward Elgar Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1
  9. Ernest Bullock Entrance Fanfare
  10. Charles Hubert Hastings Parry I was glad
  11. Ernest Bullock The Presentation, Fanfares and Acclamations
  12. The Administration and Signing of the Oath
  13. Edward Elgar Introit: O hearken Thou
  14. The Collect
  15. Epistle: Peter 2:13-17
  16. Henry Purcell Gradual: Hear my prayer
  17. Gospel: Matthew 22:15
  18. Ralph Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor – Creed
  19. Hymn: Come, Holy Ghost Arr. Ernest Bullock
  20. The Prayer over the Ampulla
  21. George Frideric Handel Zadok the Priest
  22. The Anointing and Blessing


  1. Ernest Bullock Prayers, Acclamations and Crowning Fanfare Ernest Bullock
  2. Walter Parratt Confortare: Be strong and play the man Walter Parratt
  3. The King receives the Holy Bible
  4. The Blessing of the King and People
  5. The Exhortation
  6. Anon, attrib. John Redford Rejoice in the Lord alway
  7. William Byrd I will not leave you comfortless
  8. Orlando Gibbons O clap your hands together
  9. Samuel Sebastian Wesley Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace
  10. Ernest Bullock Homage Fanfare and Acclamations
  11. The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune Ralph Vaughan Williams
  12. The Offertory Prayer and Prayer for the Church Militant
  13. The Exhortation, General Confession and Absolution
  14. The Preface
  15. Ralph Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor – Sanctus
  16. The Prayer of Humble Access and Prayer of Consecration
  17. Ralph Vaughan Williams O taste and see
  18. John Merbecke The Lord’s Prayer
  19. The Post-Communion Prayer
  20. Charles Villiers Stanford ‘Coronation’ Gloria in B flat
  21. The Blessing
  22. Orlando Gibbons Threefold Amen
  23. William Walton Coronation Te Deum
  24. David Matthews Recessional and National Anthem
  25. William Walton Coronation March: Crown Imperial

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Now this is an extraordinary release—a reconstruction, for those of us too young to remember one (which is most of us these days)—of an English coronation service from the 20th century. The monarch being crowned is, for the purposes of this CD, a King, and the order of service dates from 1937. Between the Elgar Coronation March from 1911, and the glorious Crown Imperial of Walton from the 1937 and 1953 coronation services, the entire ritual unfolds in epitome, calling on Luther harmonised by Bach, the Litany by Tallis, various anthems by Parry and Handel (Zadok, of course!), Byrd, Gibbons, and S. S. Wesley, a Pomp and Circumstance, the Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor, and several fanfares. It is impossible to do justice to the richness, variety, and, well Englishness, of this pageant of iconic music. Anyone with half an ear for the most glorious celebration that the English are capable of will revel in this release. Not only that, it is presented with suitable extravagance by Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort and players, who honed their skills performing such vast works as Berlioz’ Requiem and Britten’s War Requiem. Go on, spoil yourselves!

- Chris Dench, The Classical Music Collector