Kate and William’s Royal Wedding Ceremony Music favored the traditional and was almost exclusively written by British composers; we discuss the music in detail, with inclusions from the official wedding program – lyrics, instructions, composers, and performers.
(Click the words “Kate and William’s Royal Wedding Ceremony Music” in the paragraph above to listen to some of the ceremony music).
Four organ pieces preceded the royal wedding ceremony of Kate Middleton and Prince William and were the first musical offerings:
Fantasia in G written by J. S. Bach
From Master of The Queen’s Music with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies- Veni Creator Spiritus
Prelude on St. Columba Opus 28, composed by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
Sonata for Organ Opus 28 (Allegro maestoso and Allegretto) written by the esteemed English composer, Edward Elgar
—-These were followed by the seven orchestral pieces:
Elgar’s Serenade for Strings in E minor Opus 20 ; Benjamin Britten (famous English classical composer) contributes “Courtly Dance V: Galliard from Gloriana” (Symphonic Suite) Opus 53a # 7; Fantasia on Greensleeves from the pen of Ralph Vaughan Williams; Farewell to Stromness by the illustrious Sir Peter Maxwell Davies; Frederick Delius’ “On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring”; Touch Her Soft Lips and Part [Henry 5th Suite] from the 20th century English composer William Walton; and lastly “Romance for String Orchestra Op. 11″ by Gerald Finzi, also know for musical settings of the poems of Thomas Hardy.
Performed by the London Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Warren-Green.
Percy’s “Canzona from Organ Sonata in C minor” brought to a close the pre-ceremony music.
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were announced by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry playing a brilliant fanfare.
Following this fanfare we heard three processionals, beginning with Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry’s “March from The Birds.”
Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Prelude on Rhosymedre” accompanied the Procession of the Clergy, favored by Kate and William for it’s Welsh echoes.
Bridal Processional: Kate Middleton was announced by Parry’s “I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me“, a perhaps lesser known but thoroughly English choral anthem.
Three wedding hymns were sung during the ceremony: “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer”, interesting because of it’s familiarity from Welsh rugby matches, where it is known as ‘Bread Of Heaven’ (and William is the Welsh Rugby Union’s vice-royal patron). This wedding hymn may be bittersweet for the Prince, having been sung at his mother Diana’s funeral in 1997, and again at a memorial in 2007.
The second Wedding Hymn was “Love Divine All Loves Excelling”, perhaps more recognizable than the first hymn, and the last, “Greensleeves” is probably the most recognizable of these 3 wedding hymns, from the pen of Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Paul Mealor’s “Ubi Caritas” provided not only a compelling choral performance, but what Dr. Mealor describes as the highlight of his life, being included in the royal wedding music selections. The Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace performed this number. Dr. Mealor has been teaching at the University of Aberdeen for 8 years .
PROCESSION OF THE BRIDE
at which time the Introit was performed
I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the house of the Lord.
Our feet shall stand in thy gates, O Jerusalem
Jerusalem is builded as a city; that is at unity in itself
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee
Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces
Charles Hubert Hastings Parry
THE WEDDING HYMN “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer”
GUIDE me, O thou great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven,
feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fiery cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through:
be thou still my strength and shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell’s Destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side:
songs of praises
I will ever give to thee.
After the blessing, another hymn followed:
THE WEDDING HYMN “Love Divine All Loves Excelling”
LOVE divine, all loves excelling
joy of heaven, to earth come down
fix in us thy humble dwelling
all thy faithful mercies crown
Jesus, thou art all compassion
pure unbounded love thou art
visit us with thy salvation
enter every trembling heart
Come, almighty to deliver
let us all thy life receive
suddenly return, and never
never more thy temples leave
Thee we would be always blessing
serve thee as thy hosts above
pray, and praise thee, without ceasing
glory in thy perfect love
Finish then thy new creation
pure and spotless let us be
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee
changed from glory into glory
till in heaven we take our place
till we cast our crowns before thee
lost in wonder, love, and praise!
William Penfro Rowlands,
THIS is the day which the Lord hath made: we will rejoice and be glad in it.
O praise the Lord of heaven: praise him in the height.
Praise him, all ye angels of his: praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars and light.
Let them praise the name of the Lord.
For he shall give his angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
The Lord himself is thy keeper: the Lord is thy defence upon thy right hand;
so that the sun shall not burn thee by day: neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in: from this time forth for evermore.
He shall defend thee under his wings.
Be strong, and he shall comfort thine heart, and put thou thy trust in the Lord.
THE MOTET “UBI CARITAS” by Paul Mealor
UBI caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exsultemus et in ipso jucundemur. Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero. Amen.
Wherever charity and love are to be found – God is there.The love of Christ has brought us together as one. Let us rejoice and be glad in him. Let us fear and love the living God; and let us love one another with sincerity in our heart. Amen.
THE WEDDING HYMN “Jerusalem”
AND did those feet in ancient time
walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
on England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
among those dark satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
till we have built Jerusalem
in England’s green and pleasant land.
Charles Hubert Hastings Parry,
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
GOD save our gracious Queen
Long live our noble Queen
God save The Queen
Send her victorious
happy and glorious
long to reign over us
God save The Queen
The Choirs sang
BLEST PAIR OF SIRENS
at which time Kate, William, and the witnesses moved to the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor and signed the Marriage Registers.
The Procession of the Clergy moved to the “Great West Door”
BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of heaven’s joy
sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse
wed your divine sounds, and mixed power employ
dead things with inbreathed sense able to pierce
and to our high-raised phantasy present
that undisturbed song of pure concent
aye sung before the sapphire-coloured throne
to him that sits thereon
with saintly shout, and solemn jubilee
where the bright Seraphim in burning row
their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow
and the cherubic host in thousand quires
touch their immortal harps of golden wires
with those just spirits that wear victorious palms
hymns devout and holy psalms
That we on earth with undiscording voice
may rightly answer that melodious noise
as once we did, till disproportioned sin
jarred against nature’s chime, and with harsh din
broke the fair music that all creatures made
to their great Lord, whose love their motion swayed
in perfect diapason, whilst they stood
in first obedience, and their state of good
O may we soon again renew that song,
and keep in tune with heaven, till God ere long
to his celestial concert us unite,
to live with him, and sing in endless morn of light.
Charles Hubert Hastings Parry John Milton (1608-74)
THE PROCESSION OF THE BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM, Kate and William:
(The London Chamber Orchestra played)
The bride walked down the aisle to the anthem “I Was Glad” by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry.
THE PROCESSION OF THE QUEEN
Toccata, from Symphonie Five
composed by Charles-Marie Widor
‘Pomp and Circumstance’ March number 5
by Edward Elgar
Ellie Goulding, English singer-songwriter who has been nominated several times for Best Female Artist, Best Breakthrough Artist, Best Album, and so forth, will be playing at the royal reception.