The Royal Wedding: The Music

Prince William and Miss Middleton have both taken a great deal of interest and care in choosing the music for their Service, which will include a number of well-known hymns and choral works as well as some specially-commissioned pieces. This post contains information on the music for the wedding ceremony, the afternoon reception and the evening reception as well as the choirs, orchestra and fanfare teams that performed the music.

The Playlist for the Wedding*

Before the Service

The music before the Service will begin with a selection of organ pieces:

  • Fantasia in G (Pièce d’orgue à 5) by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Veni Creator Spiritus by the Master of The Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
  • Prelude on St. Columba Op. 28 by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
  • Sonata for Organ Op. 28 (Allegro maestoso and Allegretto) by Edward Elgar.

Following this will be orchestral pieces:

  • Serenade for Strings in E minor Op. 20 (Allegro piacevole, Larghetto and Allegretto) by Edward Elgar
  • Courtly Dance V: Galliard from Gloriana (Symphonic Suite) Op. 53a no. 7 by Benjamin Britten
  • Fantasia on Greensleeves by Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Farewell to Stromness by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
  • On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring by Frederick Delius
  • Touch Her Soft Lips and Part from Henry V Suite by William Walton
  • Romance for String Orchestra Op. 11 by Gerald Finzi
  • Canzona from Organ Sonata in C minor by Percy Whitlock

Three of these pieces – Farewell to Stromness, Touch Her Soft Lips and Part and Romance for String Orchestra Op. 11 – were played at the Service of Prayer and Dedication for The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005. The Couple specifically chose these pieces for that reason.

Processional Music

The Service will begin with a Fanfare by The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry to mark the arrival of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. The Fanfare will be followed by three Processionals. For the Procession of The Queen, Prince William and Miss Middleton have chosen March from The Birds by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. Prelude on Rhosymedre by Ralph Vaughan Williams will accompany the Procession of the Clergy, and was chosen for its Welsh echoes. The Couple have selected ‘I was Glad’, also by Parry, for the Procession of the Bride.


Prince William and Miss Middleton have chosen three hymns for the Service:

  1. ‘Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer’, words by William Williams, translated by Peter Williams and others, and music by John Hughes.
  2. ‘Love Divine All Love Excelling’, words by Charles Wesley and music by William Penfro Rowlands.
  3. ‘Jerusalem’, by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, words by William Blake.

All three hymns have been chosen because they are favourites of the Couple.

The Anthem and Motet

The Anthem, ‘This is the day which the Lord hath made’, has been composed specially for the occasion by John Rutter. It was commissioned by Westminster Abbey as a wedding present for Prince William and Miss Middleton and will be performed by both the Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal Choir. Mr. Rutter is a British composer, conductor, editor and arranger who specialises in choral music.

The Anthem will be followed by the Motet ‘Ubi caritas’ by Paul Mealor, a Welsh composer, who is currently Reader in Composition at The University of Aberdeen.

Mr. Mealor’s composing studio is on the Isle of Anglesey, where Prince William and Miss Middleton live. This version of ‘Ubi caritas’ was written on Anglesey and premiered at the University of St. Andrews in November 2010.

The National Anthem will be sung immediately before the Signing of the Registers.

The Signing of the Registers and the Recessional

During the Signing of the Registers, the choirs will sing ‘Blest pair of Sirens’, words by John Milton from At a Solemn Musick, music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry.

Following the Signing, there will be a Fanfare by the Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. The Fanfare, called Valiant and Brave, after the motto of No. 22 Squadron (Search and Rescue Force) was specially composed for this Service by Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs, Principal Director of Music in the Royal Air Force.

The Recessional, for the Procession of the Bride and Bridegroom, will be Crown Imperial by William Walton. Toccata from Symphonie V by Charles-Marie Widor and Pomp and Circumstance March no. 5 by Edward Elgar will follow the Service.

The Afternoon Reception*

Following the Wedding Service at Westminster Abbey, Claire Jones, the Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales will perform at a Reception hosted by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The Evening Reception

The playlist for the evening reception is as follows**:

  • Ellie Goulding (live)
  • Your Song
  • Ellie Goulding (live)
  • Starry Eyed
  • Jermaine Stewart
  • We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off
  • Body Rockers
  • I Like The Way You Move
  • Tinie Tempah
  • Pass Out
  • The Kings Of Leon
  • Sex On Fire

The Choirs, Orchestra and Fanfare Teams*

Two choirs, one orchestra and two fanfare teams will perform the music at the Wedding Service of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29th. These are:

• The Choir of Westminster Abbey
• The Chapel Royal Choir
• The London Chamber Orchestra
• The Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force
• The State Trumpeters of The Household Cavalry

The choirs will be under the direction of Mr James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey. The Choir of Westminster Abbey is made up of 20 boys, all of whom attend the Abbey’s dedicated residential Choir School, and 12 professional adult singers, known as Lay Vicars. In addition to singing the daily choral services in the Abbey throughout the year, it plays a central role in the many royal, state and national occasions which take place at the Abbey. The Abbey’s Sub Organist, Robert Quinney, will play the organ.

The Chapel Royal Choir consists of ten Children of the Chapel, boy choristers who hold scholarships at City of London School, and six Gentlemen-in-Ordinary, who are professional singers. The Chapel Royal Choir has existed since at least the Norman Conquest. The Organist, Choir Master and Composer at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal is Dr. Andrew Gant. The Choir’s duties are to sing the weekly service in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace and to perform for the Sovereign on other occasions, including at the weddings of members of the Royal Family. The distinctive State uniforms worn by the Children date from the reign of Charles II.

The London Chamber Orchestra will be conducted by Mr Christopher Warren-Green, its Music Director and Principal Conductor. The orchestra will comprise 39 musicians located in the organ loft of the Abbey. The LCO is the longest established professional chamber orchestra in the UK, having been founded in 1921 by Anthony Bernard. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is a patron of the orchestra. Mr Warren-Green has conducted numerous concerts for the Royal Family.

A Fanfare Team of seven musicians from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force will perform under the direction of Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs. The Central Band was established in 1920 and provides musical support to the Royal Air Force throughout the UK. In addition to their musical duties, Royal Air Force musicians also serve overseas in support of the broader Defence cause.

The State Trumpeters of The Household Cavalry comprises musicians from both The Band of The Life Guards and The Band of The Blues and Royals. The Fanfare Team of eight Trumpeters will be led by Trumpet Major Grant Sewell-Jones of The Band of The Blues and Royals. In addition to their musical duties, all Army Musicians can be called upon to act as individual augmentee soldiers in support of operations across the world.

Trumpeters from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force (RAF) wil accolade Prince William and Catherine Middleton once they have signed the register making them husband and wife.Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs, who will be directing the band of seven trumpeters and one drummer, composed a new fanfare for the day. The piece, which will not be heard until the wedding, is called Valiant and Brave and will last for about 30 seconds.

source: theroyalwedding*;**


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