Coronation Music Concert at St. Matthew’s


By Margret Brady Nankivell

St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in the Glebe will host a choral concert featuring coronation music of the past to recognize King Charles III’s coronation that will follow a week later. The concert will be presented at 7 pm on Sunday, April 30, 2023.

St. Matthew’s Choir will be conducted by Interim Director of Music Robert Hall and Nick Veltmeyer will be the guest organist.

Veltmeyer is a multi-talented keyboardist, conductor, composer and arts advocate. He founded Aureas Voces, an indie early music company which builds bridges between many forms of music from early classical to digital media and contemporary stage.

The central works in this concert will be Handel’s four coronation anthems, originally performed at the coronation of King George II in 1727. Probably the most famous of these is the stirring anthem Zadok the Priest.  

The program will also include works by Anglo-Canadian organist and composer Healey Willan, composed in 1953 to honour the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and Hubert Parry’s anthem I Was Glad. Rounding out the program will be a transcription of the exciting Crown Imperial by William Walton.

“There is a long tradition of ‘occasional music’ in Britain, that is, music that is written for occasions or in this case grand occasions,” says Hall. “The works in this concert are all wonderful examples of that, having been written for coronations, and almost all of them have achieved lives far beyond those occasions.”

For example, Parry’s “I Was Glad”, written for King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902, has been sung at several coronations and at the weddings of Prince Charles and Prince William. It is a mainstay in the anthem repertoire of Anglican churches worldwide.

“It could be argued that there is nothing more British than this music, although some would argue that God Save the King is close,” quips Hall.

Admission will be free, with a freewill offering. Entrance is at 130 Glebe Avenue, just west of Bank Street.

Margret B. Nankivell is a long-time St. Matthew’s parishioner and regular contributor on music to the Glebe Report.

Nick Veltmeyer will be guest organist at the April 30 concert of coronation music at St. Matthew’s.
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