The central part of the BBC’s marathon eight-hour live television broadcast of the Coronation on 2 June 1953, beginning with the Queen’s arrival at Westminster Abbey and going through to the end of the service. Narrated by Richard Dimbleby.
The singers at the Coronation were drawn from the choirs of Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Chapel Royal and St George’s Chapel, Windsor, supplemented by 12 boy trebles chosen from various British cathedral choirs. In addition, the Royal School of Church Music conducted auditions to find twenty boy trebles from parish church choirs to represent the various regions of the United Kingdom; these choristers spent the month before the service training at Addington Palace. The final complement of singers numbered 182 boy trebles, 37 altos, 62 tenors and 67 basses. Together with a full orchestra, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, the total number of musicians was 480.
For those interested in such matters, this is a rare opportunity to hear a liturgically-relevant performance of Parry’s “I was glad”, including the “Vivats” sung by the Queen’s Scholars of Westminster School as prescribed in the music score.
1. Overture & minuet (“Fireworks Music”) (Georg Friedrich Handel) 2. I was glad (C Hubert H Parry)* 3. RECOGNITION 4. OATH 5. Behold, O God our defender (Herbert Howells)*** 6. Let my prayer come up (William H Harris)*** 7. GOSPEL 8. Creed (“Mass in G minor”) (Ralph Vaughan Williams) 9. Come, Holy Ghost (Mode viii melody, arr Ernest Bullock) 10. Zadok the Priest (Georg Friedrich Handel) 11. ANOINTING 12. INVESTITURE 13. Confortare (George Dyson)*** 14. HOMAGE 15. Rejoice in the Lord alway (Anon 16th century) 16. O Lord our governor (Healey Willan)** 17. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace (Samuel Sebastian Wesley) 18. Hymn: All people that on earth do dwell (“Old 100th”) 19. CONFESSION 20. COMMUNION 21. Sanctus (“Mass in G minor”) (Ralph Vaughan Williams) 22. O taste and see (Ralph Vaughan Williams)** 23. Gloria in B flat (Charles Villiers Stanford) 24. BLESSING 25. Three-fold Amen (Orlando Gibbons) 26. Te Deum (William Walton)** 27. National Anthem (arr Gordon Jacob) 28. Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D (Edward Elgar)
* including “Vivats”, the first few of which were sung by the Queen’s Scholars of Westminster School ** composed for the occasion *** first performance