BIF Celebrates with our Hot Musical Picks from the Coronation Weekend

Buxton International Festival joins the country in offering its congratulations to King Charles III on his Coronation at Westminster Abbey on 6 May.   With music at the very heart of the Coronation weekend, what better way for the Festival to join the celebrations than with a selection of our very own Hot Picks from this glorious State occasion.



We are delighted that two composers featured in this year’s Festival – Iain Farrington and Dame Shirley Thompson – have also been specially chosen to write pieces for the Coronation service itself.  We’ve chosen these are our first two Hot Picks…

  • Voices of the World – Organ piece by Iain Farrington

Iain’s piece for organ is called ‘Voices of the World’ and includes traditional song melodies from various Commonwealth countries, mixed together in a joyful, jazzy and dance-like character.

Iain is arranging and orchestrating the music of Ivor Novello for the Festival’s eagerly-awaited new musical, The Land of Might-Have-Been.

  • Triptych for Orchestra

Dame Shirley J Thompson joins fellow composers Nigel Hess and Roderick Williams to create a triptych for orchestra based on one of Charles’s favourite hymns, Be Thou My Vision. It’s thought to be one of the world’s oldest hymns with origins in 6th century Ireland.

Multi-award-winning composer Shirley J Thompson brings her opera, Women of the Windrush, to this summer’s festival.  This powerful work portrays inspirational narratives from the lives of a variety of women who travelled to the UK from the West Indies from the 1940s to the1960s.

Roderick Williams, a star from past Festivals, will also be singing in Westminster Abbey.



Our next two Hot Picks are Coronation regulars – it just wouldn’t the same without them – performed with the help of the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force.

  • Zadok the Priest – GF Handel

Don’t miss this banger of an anthem which was first written for the Coronation of King George II in 1727 and has been performed at every Coronation since.  With its trumpets and strings, big build-ups, flurries of semiquavers, alleluias and a triumphant God Save The King, it’s the one we’ll all be waiting for.  It was also the first ever piece played on Classic FM.  A definitive winner.

  • I Was Glad – Hubert Parry

They say that Parry took a couple of Coronations to get this masterpiece absolutely right, adding more pomp and extravagance each time.  The version offered up for the Coronation of George V is the version we all know and love, complete with a vivat for the King. The wedding version, minus the vivat, is the piece Kate Middleton walked down the aisle to in 2011. It’s a piece of unbridled joy and guaranteed to send a tingle down the spine as the big moments echo around the Abbey in all their glory.



Our next two Hot Picks are a nod to her late Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip.  The whole congregation will sing the Queen’s favourite hymn, Praise, My Soul, The King of Heaven and in tribute to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Byzantine Chant Ensemble will perform Greek Orthodox music during the service.



And finally, we have chosen two concerts to look out for: the first is given by Sir John Eliot Gardiner who will lead The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque soloists for a concert of choral music immediately before The Coronation.  And the day after, Sir Anthony Pappano will conduct a 74-piece orchestra made up of the Massed Bands of the Household Division and the Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra for a programme of musical favourites fronted by some of the world’s biggest entertainers, alongside performers from the world of dance.