|George Frideric Handel|
by Balthasar Denner
George Frideric HandelBorn in 1685, George Frideric Handel showed a remarkable aptitude for music at a young age. After training in Hamburg and Italy, he moved to London in 1712 and became an English citizen in 1727. He is famous for his Messiah and for his Water Music. He composed four coronation anthems: Zadok the Priest, Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened, The King Shall Rejoice, and My Heart is Inditing. Handel was probably made a citizen so he could write these in 1727. (In 1727, Gulliver's Travels had been out for a year, Bach was composing, and Voltaire was in exile in England) For further information see George Frideric Handel.
Coronation Anthem #1: Zadok the Priest
LyricsZadok the Priest, and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King.
And all the people rejoic'd, and said:
God save the King! Long live the King!
May the King live for ever,
ReviewWhile it's true that this song is not known for its subtlety, there's no need to disparage it. Handel does a great job setting up the triumphant entry of the chorus with the soft patterns at the beginning. The song then goes from a 4/4 beat to a 3/4 dance beat during the lines, "And all the people rejoic'd." It returns to a majestic and stirring 4/4 time as the music pauses before the almost percussive "God save the King!" Handel originally composed this for George the II's coronation. This particular anthem has been played at every English coronation since, generally during the anointing.
I'm indebted to Wikipedia for many of the basic facts about the song, but most of all, I'd like to thank Handel for writing such an incredible composition.