Crown Imperial (march)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Crown Imperial is an orchestral march by the English composer William Walton. It was first performed at the coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth II in 1937, and substantially revised in 1953. Walton composed the march originally for performance at the coronation of 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 and sister-in-law 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.[1] Although there was contemporary criticism of the march as "unrepresentative of the composer" and "frankly a pastiche" of the "pomp and circumstance" style,[2] Crown Imperial is now one of the most popular of Walton's orchestral compositions. It was performed again as a recessional piece to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on 29 April 2011.

Walton derived the march's title from modernisation of a phrase from William Dunbar's poem "In Honour of the City of London":[3]

"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.[4] 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".[3]

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.[5]

The composer's autograph manuscript score is located at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, at Yale University (Frederick R. Koch Collection—MS FRKF 595a, short score, 11 pp; and MS FRKF 595b, full score, 45 pp).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Music for the Coronation". The Musical Times 94 (1325): 305–307. July 1953. doi:10.2307/933633. JSTOR 933633. 
  2. ^ "Gramophone Notes". The Musical Times 78 (1134): 708–710. August 1937. doi:10.2307/923351. JSTOR 923351. 
  3. ^ a b Avery, Kenneth (January 1947). "William Walton". Music & Letters 28 (1): 1–11. doi:10.1093/ml/28.1.1. JSTOR 854707. 
  4. ^ "New Music". The Musical Times 78 (1135): 800–811. September 1937. doi:10.2307/922650. JSTOR 922650. 
  5. ^ Palmer, Christopher (May 1990). "The Uncollected Walton". The Musical Times 131 (1767): 247–252. doi:10.2307/966157. JSTOR 966157.