The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Miss Meghan Markle was a mixture of modern and traditional, British and American, and the musical element was no exception. Choral groups, soloists and instrumentalists performed a range of music, both traditional English and popular American, during the Wedding service in Windsor. The music for the service was under the direction of James Vivian, the Director of Music of St George’s Chapel. The orchestra consisting of musicians from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, The English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonic was conducted by Christopher Warren Green. Luke Bond played the organ and the State Trumpeters were provided by the Household Cavalry. The latter played a fanfare, Rejoicing, especially composed for Meghan, to herald her arrival at the chapel.
Before the service, a range of English composers were featured by the orchestra, such as Elgar, Holst, Howells, Vaughan Williams and Warlock to entertain the congregation while they waited for all 600 guests to be seated and for the senior royals and then the bride to arrive. The choices were influenced by the Prince of Wales, who is passionate about English orchestral music.
The Bride entered St George’s Chapel to Eternal Source of Light Divine by Handel. Written in 1713 to celebrate the birthday of Queen Anne. It was sung by Elin Manahan Thomas, Welsh soprano and Baroque singer, who was accompanied by the orchestra and David Blackadder on the trumpet.
Both hymns: Lord of all Hopefulness and Guide Me O, Thou Great Redeemer are popular choices for Weddings.
The choir of St George’s Chapel sang If Ye Love Me by Thomas Tallis, a motet from the time of the English Reformation and John Rutter’s The Lord Bless You and Keep You.
Following the fiery address by Bishop Michael Curry, the primate of the Episcopalian Church in the USA, Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir performed Stand by Me.
During the signing of the register, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, a 19-year-old cellist, Britain’s Got Talent star and the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year 2016, played Sicilienne in E flat Major by von Paradis; Après Un Rêve by Faure and Schubert’s Ave Maria, accompanied by the orchestra.
The Allegro from Boyce’s Symphony no. 1 in B flat Major was played during the procession after the ceremony and was followed by Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir singing Etta James’ Amen/This Little Light of Mine.
The Bell ringers of St George’s Chapel played the Traditional Grandsire Triples Quarter Peal.
The 27-track official recording Royal Wedding album was released online within a couple of hours of the ceremony; with CD, vinyl and cassette versions due to be released by Decca on Friday.