Conductor reveals how Charles asked him to perform at the Coronation

Conductor reveals how ‘approachable’ King Charles asked him to perform at the Coronation over ‘large G&Ts’

  • John Eliot Gardiner will lead Monteverdi Choir at the coronation in May 
  • Read more: King Charles has a ‘ten-year plan’, sources claim 

An internationally renowned conductor has revealed how King Charles asked him to  perform at King Charles’ Coronation. 

Charles has personally selected the musical programme for the ceremony on May, 6, at Westminster Abbey, which has been designed to showcase a range of musical talent and styles from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

Upon the monarch’s request, Sir John Eliot Gardiner will lead the Monteverdi Choir, which he founded while at Cambridge in 1964, at the event.

Speaking to The Times, Sir John called Charles ‘very approachable and congenial’, explaining he was ‘summoned to Windsor’ before Christmas where the duo discussed the service over ‘very large gin and tonic and supper.’

Meanwhile he said he was surprised by how many ‘diversity boxes’ Charles felt he had to tick when deciding the music, adding: ‘The pressure on him is enormous in that respect.’

Sir John Eliot Gardiner revealed how King Charles ‘summoned him to Windsor’ before Christmas where they discussed his Coronation over G&Ts

Upon the monarch’s request, Sir John Eliot Gardiner will lead the Monteverdi Choir, which he founded while at Cambridge in 1964, at the event

Sir John, who has been friends with Charles for a number of years, said the monarch ‘sticks out’ as a royal who ‘really cares about the arts and music.’ 

While Charles won’t be at Westminster Abbey when Sir John is performing with his choir, the conductor said the monarch will drop in to watch rehearsals. 

It was revealed in February that an anthem written by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has been commissioned by the King for his coronation. 

On a personal note, the monarch has asked for Greek Orthodox music to be played in tribute to his late father, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in 2021. 

It will be performed by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble. 

Six orchestral commissions, five choral commissions and one organ commission have been created by British composers whose styles include classical, sacred, film, television and musical theatre. 

Lord Lloyd-Webber, who is known for hit musicals including The Phantom Of The Opera, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar, described himself as ‘incredibly honoured’ to have been asked to compose a new anthem. 

He said: ‘My anthem includes words slightly adapted from Psalm 98. ‘I have scored it for the Westminster Abbey choir and organ, the ceremonial brass and orchestra. ‘I hope my anthem reflects this joyful occasion.’ 

A Coronation March has been created by Patrick Doyle, while a piece by Iain Farrington for the solo organ takes in musical themes from countries across the Commonwealth. 

There will also be new works by Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Paul Mealor, Tarik O’Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley J Thompson, Judith Weir, Roderick Williams, and Debbie Wiseman. 

A handpicked gospel choir – The Ascension Choir – will perform as part of the service, as will the Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace – together with girl choristers from the Chapel Choir of Methodist College, Belfast, and from Truro Cathedral Choir. 

The King’s Scholars of Westminster School will proclaim the traditional ‘Vivat’ acclamations. Bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel along with soprano Pretty Yende and baritone Roderick Williams will be among the soloists.

Britain’s Prince Charles met Andrew Lloyd Webber during a visit to the Royal Albert Hall to discuss the arts and creativity in school, in London on Wednesday, September, 5, 2018

The composer has written one of the 12 new pieces of music commissioned by the King for his coronation

Andrew Nethsingha, organist and master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey, is taking charge of the musical arrangements and directing the music during the service. 

Coronations have taken place in Westminster Abbey since 1066 and all services are ‘a mixture of deep-rooted tradition and contemporary innovation’, he said. 

‘It has been a privilege to collaborate with His Majesty in choosing fine musicians and accessible, communicative music for this great occasion,’ he added. 

Sir Antonio Pappano, music director for the Royal Opera House, will be conducting the Coronation Orchestra, which will be made up of musicians drawn from orchestras of the former Prince of Wales’ patronages including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. 

He said: ‘His Majesty has chosen a most beautiful and varied programme that I believe will enhance the splendour of this very special celebration.’ 

Music which has been played at coronation services over the past four centuries will also be part of the programme, along with the work of Sir Karl Jenkins – who is one of the most-performed living composers in the world. 

The historical sounds will include music by the likes of William Byrd, George Frideric Handel, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Henry Walford Davies, Sir William Walton, Sir Hubert Parry and Ralph Vaughan Williams. 

Fanfares will be played by The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and The Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force. 

Sir John Eliot Gardiner will conduct The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque soloists in a pre-service programme of choral music. 

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