Music Icon Pens Anthem for King Charles' Coronation

The English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote an anthem for King Charles III's coronation, adapting a piece of church music meant to evoke joy. Lloyd Webber penned the scores for blockbuster musicals such as CatsThe Phantom of the Opera, and Evita. It includes words adapted from Psalm 98 and is scored primarily for Westminster Abbey's choir and organ. The piece is one of a dozen new works commissioned by Charles for the grand occasion, reported the Associated Press. "I hope my anthem reflects this joyful occasion," Webber said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace. To reflect modern Britain, the palace's coronation ceremony program incorporates traditional and contemporary elements. There are artists from all four nations of the United Kingdom, as well as from Commonwealth countries and foreign countries that contributed to its population and culture.

A number of works will be included in the service, including those by William Byrd (1543–1623), George Frideric Handel (1685–1759), Edward Elgar (1857–1934), Henry Walford Davies (1869–1941), William Walton (1902–1983), Hubert Parry (1848–1918) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958), whose music has been featured in previous coronations, as well as the contemporary Welsh composer Karl Jenkins. Additionally, new works will be presented by Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Paul Mealor, Tarik O'Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley J. Thompson, Judith Weir, Roderick Williams, and Debbie Wiseman. "The decision to combine old and new reflects the cultural breadth of the age in which we live," said Andrew Nethsingha, the organist and master of choristers at Westminster Abbey.

"Coronations have taken place in Westminster Abbey since 1066. It has been a privilege to collaborate with his majesty in choosing fine musicians and accessible, communicative music for this great occasion," Nethsingha said. Across the classical, sacred, film, television, and musical theater genres, six orchestral commissions, five choral commissions, and one organ commission were composed for the coronation. Also included in the program are tributes to Charles' late father, Prince Philip, who was born a Greek prince. The new monarch requested Greek Orthodox music that the Byzantine Chant Ensemble will perform. While specific service details will remain a secret, according to the Associated Press, one hymn will surely be sung: Handel's "Zadok the Priest." Since its commission for King George II's coronation in 1727, the hymn has been played at every coronation with its rousing chorus of "God Save the King."