Music Galore during Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee Procession on the Thames

United KingdomUnited Kingdom  New Music Planned for Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee (RJ)

On Sunday 3rd June 2012, over one thousand boats will muster on the River Thames in preparation for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The river pageant will start above Battersea Bridge at 2 pm and finish downriver of Tower Bridge at 6 pm.

The procession down the Thames will be accompanied by ten musical barges. On the barge Georgian an ensemble of fifteen musicians will play music by contemporary composers including Seen and Heard International correspondent Christopher Gunning, whose reviews are a regular feature on this website.  Howard Goodhall, Graham Fitkin, Jocelyn Pook, Debbie Wiseman, Julian Nott and Adrian Johnston are among the others whose music will be played.

The inspiration for their music is Handel’s Water Music which was first played in 1717 to accompany a procession in honour of the Queen’s ancestor, King George I. This well-known work together with the Royal Fireworks Music by Handel will be played by early music specialists the Academy of Ancient Music on the barge Edwardian under the baton of Richard Egarr.

The Jubilant Commonwealth Choir on another barge will give the first performance of a poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy set to music by Orlando Gough. And the final musical barge in the procession, aptly named Symphony, will carry the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Parry playing music by Malcolm Arnold, Arne, Britten, Elgar, Holst, Walton and other British composers.

This will be one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river. Rowed boats and working boats and pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes will be beautifully dressed with streamers and Union Flags, their crews and passengers turned out in their finest rigs. The armed forces, fire, police, rescue and other services will be afloat and there will be an exuberance of historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and a floating belfry.

For those who are unable to make it to London a CD of the music by the contemporary British composers featured has been released under the title Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant: New Water Music. The event will also be covered extensively on the major TV channels.

Roger Jones