David Price, Portsmouth Cathedral’s own organist, provided a diverse programme of English music in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession at lunchtime today.
Some might say Purcell is England’s greatest composer and I’d be one of them and five short pieces by him were a fine way to begin. The Rondeau was a grand opening, Fairest Isle somewhat smaller in scope, the wonderful When I am laid in earth is solemn and ethereal, How blest are the shepherds perhaps insouciant before the famous Trumpet Tune was in there somewhere, almost buried among a fanfare.
Francis Jackson’s Prelude on East Ackham is a benign hymn tune that contrasted with the Trumpet March written for the 1981 royal wedding in which the modernist dazzle and disruption might have anticipated the marriage that it celebrated.
Much more restful is the peaceable drift of the Lullaby for a Prince on the occasion of the birth of Prince William by Arthur Wills. The rousing finale, William Walton’s Crown Imperial March accumulated and gathered itself towards its emphatic splendour to complete a vivid, glowing set that was most welcome on an otherwise nondescript day.