Orb and Sceptre

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For the use of the orb and sceptre as a sign of authority see Globus cruciger.

Orb and Sceptre is a march for orchestra, composed by Sir William Walton. It was written for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953.

Structure[edit]

Influenced largely by Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance Marches 1 and 4, it begins in the key of E major with bright trumpet fanfares before leaping into the famous march section, heavily syncopated and brightly orchestrated. This section moves briefly through C major before returning to E.

As with Crown Imperial, written by Walton in 1936 for the coronation of Elizabeth II's father, King George VI, it quietens down into a Trio section in the middle in C. This theme is heard subdued on the strings, before repeated in its more stately and grand form. The main March section is then heard again, this time even more colourful and this parades on, building up to the final hearing of the stately Trio section, back in the home key of E. This time Walton uses the whole orchestra, percussion steadily beating away, while the tune is shared between fortissimo strings and fanfare-like brass. A short, fast coda ends the piece in his usual very Elgar-esque style.

Arrangements[edit]

Orb and Sceptre has been arranged for organ by Sir William McKie.