The Royal Collection: Royal Occasions Volume 1

0 of 5 stars

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring [arr. Lucien Caillet]
Norma – Casta diva
Pomp and Circumstance March No.1
Zadok the Priest – Coronation Anthem
Water Music – Alla Hornpipe
Music for the Royal Fireworks – Menuets I & II
The Planets – Jupiter [excerpted to I vow to Thee, My Country]
Song without Words, Op.85/6
Athalie – War march of the priests, Op.74
I was glad
Abdelazer – Rondeau
I was glad – Anthem
Johann Strauss I
Huldigung der Königin Victoria von Grossbritannien – Waltz, Op.103
Crown Imperial
Symphony for Organ No.5 – Toccata

Artists include Westminster Abbey Choir, English Chamber Orchestra/Raymond Leppard, Band of the Life Guards, Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy, Renata Scotto (soprano)/National Philharmonic Orchestra/James Levine, Philharmonia Orchestra/Andrew Davis, Péter Nagy (piano), Christian von Blahn (organ), La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy/Jean-Claude Malgoire, New York Phiharmonic/Leonard Bernstein, London Symphony Orchestra, John Georgiadis, et al

Reviewed by: Michael Darvell

Reviewed: November 2007
Duration: 70 minutes

This collection is a commemorative album of music associated with royal celebrations. It is released to coincide with the Diamond Wedding anniversary of HM The Queen and HRH The Prince Philip on 20 November 2007. Much of the music recorded here was written for or played at royal celebrations including many royal wedding services.

Most of the recordings come from the Sony/BMG archives. Some of the works were heard at the Queen’s Coronation, such as Handel’s “Zadok the Priest” and Purcell’s “I was glad” anthems. Crown Imperial was written by Sir William Walton for the Coronation of King George VI. Not included here is the march he wrote for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, Orb and Sceptre. But, then, this release is labelled Volume 1.

You can imagine many of these musical items being played at any number of royal occasions, such as the Elgar and the Bach but would you want to hear an excerpt from ‘Jupiter’ from Holst’s The Planets – arranged as “I vow to Thee, My Country” – played by an army band? The ‘Toccata’ from Widor’s Organ Symphony No.5 is an obvious choice. How many royal weddings and others has this music graced?

Handel’s Water Music and the Music for the Royal Fireworks are also obvious choices but, even allowing that Mendelssohn played for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace, where or when were any of Mendelssohn’s Song without Words and his ‘War March of the Priests’ ever used in royal circles?

The Elgar and the Bach are old favourites and they contribute to the feeling that this is more a collection of “Your Hundred Best Tunes”. There is one unusual item and that is the Homage to Queen Victoria by Johann Strauss I, which opens with a neat arrangement of “Rule, Britannia” followed by a delightful Viennese waltz and then ending with the British National Anthem. This would do well at the Last Night of the Proms.

The selection of pieces is good and all are well-recorded by some of the great names in the history of recorded sound. It would make a nice stocking-filler at Christmas.

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