Zadok the Priest, one of the anthems that Handel wrote for coronations, is a rollicking mood-booster if ever there was one. If you are a member of Classical Archives, why not click here to listen now? Handel wrote it for the coronation of King George II in 1727, to this text:
Zadok the Priest, and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King.
And all the
people rejoiced and said:
God save the King! Long live the King!
May the King live forever,
You can see what is going on here. By setting a text about the coronation of King Solomon, Handel was implying that George II was as wise as Solomon. Talk about sucking up! But a composer had to do what he had to do, and Handel did it spectacularly in this glorious anthem that starts with a ostinato pattern in the strings that is barely audible and ends with a glorious florid setting of the final, “Alleluia.”
We will hear a wonderfully idiomatic performance by the English Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Thurston Dart.
Long live the King! And you too! And have a joyous day.