By Nicholas Jennings on Sunday, 15 May 2011
Category: Reviews

Music Review: Various artists - The Royal Wedding: The Official Album

Music plays a big part of any wedding. For a royal wedding, the music takes on huge significance, conveying both regal grandeur and time-honored tradition. Those rich qualities were in abundance at the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as Prince William and Catherine Middleton are now known. The ceremony at Westminster Abbey featured music with a distinctly British theme, combining traditional and newly commissioned pieces. And, movingly, the musical choices evoked memories of William’s mother, the late Princess Diana.

The Royal Wedding: The Official Album, recorded and now available digitally, captures the full ceremony—all of the music, plus the readings, blessings and vows. A physical edition, featuring a 12-page color booklet, will be released May 23. As befits any royal service, the music includes bracing fanfare, stirring hymns and majestic works by some of Britain’s most famous composers. Among the best-known hymns is the rousing “Jerusalem,” sung by the Westminster choir, while Sir Edward Elgar’s stately “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 5,” as performed by the London Chamber Orchestra, remains a classic.

Music lovers will revel in the joyous choir sounds, especially the blend of men’s and boys’ voices rising to the rafters on Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry’s sweeping “I Was Glad” (also performed at Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding). But the highlight of The Official Album is Welsh composer Paul Mealor’s gorgeous choral work “Ubi Caritas.” Specially chosen by the bride and groom, it reflects the emotion and exhilaration of the grand event.