Music in the beginning of life chapter
Elizabeth II officially became the queen on the day of the death of her father, George VI, on February 6, 1952, however her coronation took place 16 months later, on June 2, 1953, at Westminster Abbey. 8,000 people were present on that ceremony.
On June 2, 1953, the whole world stood in Westminster Abbey. For the first time in history, cameras and journalists immortalized a historic coronation. That of a young woman of 27 who was preparing to be the sixth woman to wear the crown of the United Kingdom and the Kingdoms of the Commonwealth. A song is chosen to open this new page. “Behold, O God our defender” a carol, a sacred choir composed a few months earlier by a certain Herbert Howells.
Coronation music 1953
On June 2, 1953 there were around 2 million 700 thousand televisions in Britain at the time, so many people gathered at the homes of family, friends and neighbors, totaling 20 million 400 thousand viewers. Traditionally, the statistics did not include children who also gathered in front of the screens. Even during the broadcast, preparations for the playback of recordings in the countries under the British crown began. For people living in Canada it was very important to see coronation on the same day. To fulfill this wish, military planes were engaged that flew with film rolls to the other side of the ocean. In record time – 53 hours and 28 minutes – the recording reached Australia. In total, 277 million viewers watched her coronation around the world, not only in the territories ruled by Elizabeth II.
Music in the coronation ceremony
On Elizabeth’s coronation day, it was not Edward Elgar’s Nursery Suite that echoed through Westminster Abbey but the brilliant fanfares of Pump and Circunstances. A work that had inspired William Walton to another solemn march The Orb and the Scepter in homage to the symbols of power of the new Queen. Malcolm Arnold’s Tribute to the Queen and the motet O Taste and See by Ralph Vaughan-Williams also played during the coronation ceremony. But the score that made the most noise during the ceremony is that of Benjamin Britten. By its character, its subject and its audacity, it differs very much from the sacred songs and marches which had resounded until then.
Music for life not only for Elizabeth
Music inaugurates the reign of a Queen who will create the Queen’s Medal for Music and will appoint for the first time a woman, the composer Judith Weir as Queen’s Master of Music. Moreover, when she was little, at four years old, long before she played the piano and learned to sing, Edward Elgar who then occupied this position had dedicated to her, his sister Margaret to his mother The Queen Mum , a small suite for orchestra named Nursery Suite, the child’s room.
Opera in Elizabeth’s life
Six days after the coronation, on June 8, 1953 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, Elizabeth II attended the premiere of Gloriana. An opera thought by as a symbolic portrait of his illustrious ancestor, Queen Elizabeth I. To evoke centuries apart the transfer of power between the two Queens Elizabeth, Britten has chosen to write a falsely Renaissance score, where sung airs and false lute melodies rub shoulders with ancient dances such as pavanes and routines somewhat brought up to date.
Dancing Queen Elizabeth
It seems that Elizabeth II did not appreciate Britten’s opera very much. The reason ? A booklet by the writer William Plomer who presents his illustrious ancestor as an imperfect and vain queen. On the other hand, it seems, according to DJ and radio producer Chris Evans, that Elizabeth II was very fond of a dance of a completely different style. “Because I am the Queen and because I like to dance”. It is thus, it seems, that Elizabeth II would have justified her taste for the song Dancing Queen by Abba. An anecdote…. Perhaps a legend, as smiling as the most popular Queen of our time.
The royal family theme tune
Queen Elizabeth’s music preferences were not limited only to ones mentioned earlier. As a little girl, Elizabeth learned waltz, Viennese waltz, foxtrot, quickstep and samba. She enjoyed military marches using huge Scottish bagpipes, snare drums, tenor drums and bass drums. A relative of Elizabeth II says there was always music at Kensington Palace, for example Regimental March Milanollo, The Lord is My Shepherd, Lester Lanin – Medley and many other.
Many people wrongly attribute to Prince Charles a love of only classical music. In one of the interviews, however, the aristocrat confessed that he is a huge fan of Leonard Cohen. To his favorites list we can also add music created by The Three Degrees, Diana Ross, Edith Piaf and Barbara Streisand.
What is Prince William listening with his wife? Ellie Goulding was invited to the wedding of William and Kate. She sang a cover of Your Song from Elton John’s repertoire, to which the couple performed their first dance. Ellie revealed that attending such a wedding was an extraordinary event and she would remember it for the rest of her life.