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22 Pages

Introduction

On Thursday May 3, 1951, an orchestra assembled from members of five different London orchestras, along with the state trumpeters of the Royal Horse Guard and a chorus composed of members of ten London choirs, conducted in succession by Malcolm Sargent and Adrian Boult, opened the new Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank of the Thames. The program offered high points of English ceremonial music: George Frideric Handel’s Coronation Anthem “Zadok the Priest”, C. Hubert H. Parry’s “Ode at a Solemn Music”, Thomas Arne’s “Rule Britannia” from Alfred (in the premiere of Sargent’s now familiar arrangement), Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “Serenade to Music”, Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” March no. 1 with chorus (“Land of Hope and Glory”), Henry Purcell’s “Soul of the World” from An Ode to Saint Cecilia, and the choruses “Hallelujah” and “Amen” from Handel’s Messiah.