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Texts and music on the theme of monarchs, with readings by Samantha Bond and Simon Chandler. Includes Shakespeare, Schiller and Carroll, plus Handel, Walton, Donizetti, Schumann.

Kings and Queens have long possessed the imaginations and financed the careers of poets, playwrights and composers. Readers Samantha Bond and Simon Chandler play a host of historical kings and queens, from Shakespeare's Henry V and IV to Schiller's Queen Elizabeth I and Lewis Carroll's Queen of Hearts.

Royal coronations with their pomp and visual grandeur have inspired some of the greatest music ever written. Handel's Zadok the Priest and Walton's Crown Imperial provided the soundtracks to the coronations of George II and VI respectively; and we hear Samuel Pepys relate the incredible sight of '24 violins' at the coronation of Charles II in 1661.

The predicament of kingship was one of Shakespeare's most enduring fascinations, his Henry IV and V soliloquize in some of his greatest verse on the isolation of the ruler's plight, an isolation that may have been understood only too well by Shakespeare's great patron: Elizabeth I. Music by Donizetti and Schumann, and drama by Schiller capture the tragedy of Elizabeth's relationship with her passionate cousin Mary, Queen of Scots; whose last letter we hear, written on the eve of her execution.

1 hour, 30 minutes

Last on

Sat 21 Jul 2012 18:00

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:00

    George Frideric Handel

    Trumpet Fanfare from The Recognition, from the Coronation of King George II

    Performer: The King’s Consort

    • Hyperion CDA67286.
    • 10.
  • 00:00

    The King’s Consort

    God Save The King from The Recognition, from the Coronation of King George II

    • Hyperion CDA67286.
    • 9.
  • 00:00

    George Frideric Handel

    Zadok the Priest

    Performer: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, The Academy of Ancient Music, directed by Stephen Cleobury

    • Hyperion CDA67286.
    • 16.
  • 00:04


    Tolling Bell of Westminster Abbey

    • Hyperion CDA67286.
    • 1.
  • Simon Chandler

    Extract from the diary of Samuel Pepys

  • 00:07

    From: A Collection of several old airs composed for Coronations, Weddings and other Solemn events during the reigns of Henry III, Henry IV and Louis VIII: compiled by Philidor the Elder

    Gavotte en suite from A Concert performed for Louis XIII in 1627 by the 24 violins and the

    Performer: Le Concert Des Nations, Jordi Savall (director)

    • Alia Vox AV92824.
    • 19.
  • 00:08

    Sir Ernest Bullock

    Fanfare at the Putting on of the Crown from the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

    Performer: Massed trumpeters from the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall

    • EMI 5665822.
    • 22.
  • 00:08

    The Archbishop of Canterbury

    The Putting on of the Crown from The Coronation Service of Queen Elizabeth II

    • EMI 5665822.
    • 23.
  • 00:09

    Queen Elizabeth I

    Extract from Elizabeth II's Coronation Speech

    • EMI 5665822.
    • 18.
  • 00:09

    William Walton

    Crown Imperial

    Performer: Martin Baker (organ), The English Chamber Orchestra, Martin Neary (conductor)

    • Cantoris CSACD3050.
    • 16.
  • Simon Chandler

    Extract from Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act 3, scene 1

  • 00:13

    Gustav Holst

    Mars (The Bringer of War) From The Planets – Suite, op.32

    Performer: LPO, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)

    • LPO LPO-0047.
    • 1.
  • 00:20

    Benjamin Britten

    Coranto from Gloriana, Act II, scene iii

    Performer: Josephine Barstow (Elizabeth I), Orchestra and chorus of WNO, Sir Charles Mackerras

    • Argo 440213-2.
  • Samantha Bond

    Extract from Schiller’s Mary Stuart

  • 00:22

    Gaetano Donizetti

    Morta al mondo, e morta al trono: & Va, preparati, furente: from Maria Stuarda

    Performer: Edita Gruberova (Mary Stuart), Carmen Oprisanu (Elizabeth I), Octavio Arevalo (Leicester), Marcin Bronikowski (Cecil), Duccio Dal Monte (Talbot), Chorus of the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Munich Radio Orchestra, Marcello Viotti (conductor)

    • Nightingale Classics NC190209-2.
  • 00:27

    Henry Purcell

    Drum Processional from Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary

    Performer: Benedict Hoffnung (tenor drum)

    • EMI Classics 3444382.
    • 24.
  • Samantha Bond

    Extract from the last letter of Mary, Queen of Scots

  • 00:29

    Thomas Tallis

    Spem in Alium

    Performer: The Tallis Scholars

    • Argo 425199-2.
    • 1.
  • Samantha Bond

    The Execution of King Charles by Andrew Marvell

  • 00:36

    Trad/Thomason tracts, arr. John Sothcott

    A Crown for Cromwell – A Coffin for Charles – A Pit for the People

    Performer: Ray Attfield (baritone), Derek Harrison (counter tenor), Rosemary Harrison (soprano), St George’s Canzona, John Sothcott (director)

    • ASV CDQS6130.
    • 25.
  • 00:41

    Henry Purcell

    Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary

    Performer: Academy of Ancient Music, Stephen Cleobury (director)

    • EMI Classics 3444382.
    • 25 & 26.
  • Samantha Bond

    Our Widowed Queen by Christina Rossetti

  • 00:43

    Felix Mendelssohn

    Lied Ohne Worte in E, Op. 30 No. 3

    Performer: Glen Gould (piano)

    • Sony 88697420722-26.
  • Simon Chandler

    Extract from The Death of King Arthur by Tennyson

  • 00:48

    Gace Brulé

    A la doucour de la bele seson

    Performer: Margaret Philpot (alto), Christopher Page (conductor)

    • HYPERION CDA66336.
    • 3.
  • Samantha Bond

    A Remembered Queen by Siegfried Sasoon

  • 00:50

    Marin Marais

    Les Voix Humaine

    Performer: Spectre de la Rose

    • NAXOS 8.553081.
    • 11.
  • Simon Chandler

    Extract from Henry IV part ii by William Shakespeare

  • 00:53

    MG Improvisation


    Performer: Hakan Gungor (kanun), Jordi Savall (viol), Yurdal Tokcan (oud), Derya Turkan (Istanbul kemence), Murat Salim Tokac (tanbur)

    • Alia Vox AVSA 9870.
    • 1.
  • Simon Chandler

    Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

  • Samantha Bond

    Queen Djenira by Walter de la Mare

  • 00:56

    Alexander Borodin

    Polvtsian Dances and Chorus

    Performer: Kirov Chorus and Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (conductor)

    • Philips 442 537-2.
  • Simon Chandler

    The Statue of Our Queen by Henry Lawson

  • 01:07

    Gilbert & Sullivan - Extract from The Pirates of Penzance, finale

    Performer: Simon Masterton Smith (Sergeant of the Police), Chorus and Orchestra of the D’Oyly Carte Opera

  • 01:09

    Arne arr. Sargent

    Rule Britannia

    Performer: Anne Collins (contralto), Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, RLPO, Sir Charles Groves (conductor)

    • Classics for Pleasure CD-CFP4567.
    • 13.
  • Samantha Bond

    Extract from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

  • 01:13

    Arne arr. Sargent

    Rule Britannia

    Performer: Anne Collins (contralto), Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, RLPO, Sir Charles Groves (conductor)

    • Classics for Pleasure CD-CFP4567.
    • 13.


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