Latest News

Music at royal wedding will celebrate British composers

At Friday's royal wedding, musicians led by Charlotte Symphony conductor Christopher Warren-Green will perform an array of works by composers from the British isles - including a work the Charlotte Symphony performed in January alongside students from east Charlotte's Winterfield Elementary.

"Farewell to Stromness," a lyrical piece by Scotland's Peter Maxwell Davies, is among the music Warren-Green and the London Chamber Orchestra will perform in Westminster Abbey as a prelude to the ceremony. Violinist Rosemary Furniss, Warren-Green's wife, is a former member of Maxwell Davies' modern-music ensemble. She adapted "Farewell to Stromness" so the Winterfield violin students, whom she helps teach, could play it with the Charlotte Symphony in a Scottish-themed program in January.

The music for the ceremony - revealed Thursday by the press office at St. James's Palace - will represent several generations of British musical leaders. Even viewers who aren't familiar with classical music will recognize the melody of Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on Greensleeves" by Ralph Vaughan Williams, which is another of the preludes. During the ceremony, many U.S. churchgoers will be able to sing along with Charles Wesley's hymn "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling." Another iconic hymn: "Jerusalem," with music is by C.H.H. Parry and words by William Blake.

The musical spotlight will fall on a series of great British composers of the past, including Edward Elgar, Frederick Delius, William Walton and Benjamin Britten. But Davies, currently master of the queen's music, won't be the only living composer featured. The choirs will sing a new anthem written for the wedding by John Rutter, whose works are often performed on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Another vocal work is by the Welsh composer Paul Mealor.