Paul McCreesh / Simon Russell Beale / Gabrieli Consort / Gabrieli Consort & Players

An English Coronation, 1902-1953

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AllMusic Review by

You may be puzzled to see 20th century dates on an album by the Gabrieli Consort, and its director Paul McCreesh, but two factors make it appropriate. The first is that McCreesh has recorded several other albums that reconstruct the music for a single event. More important, and this points to the strength of this release, the coronation program performed here does include Renaissance music. This is a strength of the British tradition: it descends from Renaissance music in a way that music of no other country does. McCreesh assembles actual music from the last four coronations of an English monarch: Edward VII in 1902, George V in 1911, George VI in 1937, and Elizabeth II in 1953. One imagines that whoever is tasked with planning the coronation of Charles (or whoever may be next in-line) will want to have this album on hand, for it gives a good idea of what the ceremony is about. The program mixes Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic, and contemporary anthems, with just one non-British piece (a Luther chorale). There are mass movements by Vaughan Williams and Stanford, plus the Pomp and Circumstance March in D major, Op. 39, No. 1 (the famous one). Also included in some detail, are the nonmusical portions of the ceremony, with Simon Russell Beale in the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury. You might sample a piece like the Coronation Te Deum of William Walton, to assure yourself that this choir can perform modern choral music in an idiomatic way; they can, and that's because the Renaissance models run all through this music. A fine piece of history, superbly performed by this group, as usual.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 10:42
2 04:11
3 02:00
4 01:46
5 09:02
6 03:50
7 05:00
8 05:45
9 00:54
10 06:57
Form and Order of Service 1937
11 02:10
12 01:31
13 02:24
Form and Order of Service 1937
14 01:40
Bible Reading
15 01:00
16 02:26
Bible Reading
17 01:48
Mass in G minor
18 06:52
19 03:05
Form and Order of Service 1937
20 01:00
21 05:13
Form and Order of Service 1937
22 01:48

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Form and Order of Service 1937
1 01:48
2 01:15
Form and Order of Service 1937
3 00:33
4 01:37
5 01:03
6 02:43
7 01:54
8 04:37
9 03:20
10 02:01
11 05:14
Form and Order of Service 1937
12 03:32
13 03:20
14 01:39
Mass in G minor
15 02:45
Form and Order of Service 1937
16 02:46
17 01:49
18 01:29
Form and Order of Service 1937
19 01:28
Coronation Gloria
20 05:06
Form and Order of Service 1937
21 01:03
Great King of Gods
22 01:04
23 09:03
24 10:11
25 06:27
blue highlight denotes track pick