Crown Imperial (musical composition)


Crown Imperial (musical composition)

"Crown Imperial" is an orchestral march by the English composer William Walton. It was first performed at the coronation of King George VI in 1937, and substantially revised in 1963. Walton composed the march originally for performance at the coronation of King Edward VIII, which was scheduled for 12 May 1937. However, Edward abdicated in 1936. The coronation was held on the scheduled day, with Edward's brother George VI being crowned instead.

"Crown Imperial" was also performed at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, along with another Coronation March written by Walton, "Orb and Sceptre". [cite journal | url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0027-4666(195307)94:1325%3C305:MFTC%3E2.0.CO;2-E | title=Music for the Coronation | journal=The Musical Times | volume=94 | issue=1325 | pages=305-307 | date=July 1953 | accessdate=2008-09-21] Although there was contemporary criticism of the march as "unrepresentative of the composer" and "frankly a pastiche" of the "pomp and circumstance" style [cite journal | url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0027-4666(193708)78%3A1134%3C708%3AGN%3E2.0.CO%3B2 | title=Gramophone Notes | journal=The Musical Times | volume=78| issue=1134 | pages=708-710 | date=August 1937 | accessdate=2008-09-21] , "Crown Imperial" is now one of the most popular of Walton's orchestral compositions.

Walton derived the march's title from modernisation of a phrase from William Dunbar's poem "In Honour of the City of London":cite journal | url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0027-4224(194701)28%3A1%3C1%3AWW%3E2.0.CO%3B2-4 | last=Avery | first=Kenneth | title=William Walton | journal=Music & Letters | volume=28 | issue=1 | pages=1-11 | date=January 1947 | accessdate=2008-09-21]

"In beawtie berying the crone imperiall"

The march falls into an ABABC form: an exciting march in C major over Waltonesque long pedal points is followed by an Elgarian trio section in A flat major. Then both march and trio reappear in C again and come to a conclusion in a small heroic coda. It has been arranged for organ by Herbert Murrill. It can be found as such in "A Walton Organ Album", compiled by Robert Gower, published by Oxford University Press. In keeping with the description of this work as "Elgarian", one past nickname for the march was "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 6".

Herbert Murrill arranged "Crown Imperial" for organ in 1937. [cite journal | url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0027-4666(193709)78%3A1135%3C800%3ANM%3E2.0.CO%3B | title=New Music | journal=The Musical Times | volume=78 | issue=1135 | pages=800-811 | date=September 1937 | accessdate=2008-09-21] Christopher Palmer prepared a version of "Crown Imperial" for solo organ, brass, timpani and percussion (with harp "ad lib"), specifically for the Laurence Olivier Memorial Service in October 1989. [cite journal | url=http://www.jstor.org/sici?sici=0027-4666(199005)131%3A1767%3C247%3ATUW%3E2.0.CO%3B2-R | last=Palmer | first=Christopher | title=The Uncollected Walton | journal=The Musical Times | volume=131 | issue=1767 | pages=247-252 | date=May 1990 | accessdate=2008-09-21]

References


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