BBC Radio 3 celebrates the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla with two weeks of special programming, culminating in the broadcast of the pre-Service ceremony and of the actual Service. The network is the only radio station in the country that will be bringing every note performed in Westminster Abbey to listeners across the nation at this landmark moment for both the UK and the Commonwealth.
Talking to Radio 3 presenter Sean Rafferty in an exclusive interview on In Tune on Wednesday 26 April, Music Director of the Royal Opera House Sir Antonio Pappano – who will be leading the Coronation Orchestra – said: “I had the phone call about three months ago and I was asked to conduct the Coronation. You don’t say no to an offer like that, it doesn’t matter how busy you are. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing – a historical moment, and I am very fortunate to have been chosen. In terms of repertoire, the music of Elgar, Parry, Vaughan Williams and Walton speaks immediately of this country, stirring the soul. It has a natural solemnity and a genuinely celebratory character. This music is hugely appealing to me because I’m probably never going to conduct music like this ever again – this is all a debut and a finale at the same time!”
Thursday 27 April – Friday 5 May (Monday 24 – Wednesday 26 programmes available on BBC Sounds)
17:00 – 19:00
Over two weeks, In Tune features composers commissioned to write new pieces for the Coronation of King Charles III. Debbie Wiseman, Paul Mealor, Iain Farrington, Sarah Class, Patrick Doyle, Tarik O’ Regan, Nigel Hess, Roderick Williams, Shirley J Thompson and Master of the King’s Music, Judith Weir introduce music in anticipation of the Coronation.
Also on In Tune, and now available on BBC Sounds after initial broadcast, choirmaster Gareth Malone discusses the Coronation Choir, formed especially to perform in front of King Charles and Queen Camilla at the Coronation concert on 7 May (initial broadcast on Monday 24/04), and Sir Antonio Pappano – conductor and Music Director of the Royal Opera House and of the Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – talks about his role in the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey (initial broadcast on Wednesday 26/04).
Monday 1 May – Friday 5 May
06:30 – 09:00
09:00 – 12:00
In the week leading up to the Coronation and on the day of the event, Radio 3’s weekday morning shows will feature Coronation music and music connected to royalty every day.
Friday 5 May
Classical Mixtape: Coronation Special
19:00 – 19:30
A special mixtape featuring music related to the theme of Coronation.
Saturday 6 May
06:30 – 08:50
In a special edition of the Saturday morning programme from Salford, presenter Elizabeth Alker speaks to concert-goers at Glossop Classical Festival, which is honouring the King in their Coronation Closing Concert, and hears from people up early to prepare for a Coronation Street Party in Stockport.
Live from Westminster Abbey: Celebratory music live from Westminster Abbey
08:50 – 10:50
Katie Derham presents celebratory music live from Westminster Abbey beginning Radio 3’s coverage of the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla. His Majesty The King has personally shaped and selected the music for the occasion.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in a selection of triumphant choral music and Sir Antonio Pappano leads the Coronation Orchestra in a programme including new pieces of music composed especially for the Coronation.
At His Majesty’s request, the Coronation Orchestra is made up of musicians from across the UK and Canada. They are drawn from eight orchestras of the former Prince of Wales’ Patronages: the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Regina Symphony Orchestra (Saskatchewan, Canada), English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Opera House Orchestra and Welsh National Opera Orchestra. Soloists will include the soprano, Pretty Yende and the Royal Harpist, Alis Huws performs music by Karl Jenkins.
The newly commissioned pieces of music are by composers from across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The first commission will be a short overture composed by Judith Weir, Master of The King’s Music, and there will be newly commissioned music by Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Roderick Williams, Shirley J Thompson, Iain Farrington and Patrick Doyle.
The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla
10:50 – 13:15
The service is directed by Andrew Nethsingha, Organist and Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey, and features the expanded choral forces of the Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, girl choristers from Truro Cathedral and Methodist College, Belfast, joined by singers from the Monteverdi Choir. The organ will be played by Sub-Organist, Westminster Abbey, Peter Holder, and Assistant Organist, Westminster Abbey, Matthew Jorysz. A series of fanfares marking ceremonial moments in the service has been specially written for the occasion by Christopher Robinson, and will be performed by the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force, conducted by Wing Commander Piers Morrell. The Ascension Choir will also perform and The King’s Scholars of Westminster School will proclaim the traditional ‘Vivat’ acclamations. At the request of His Majesty, and in tribute to his late father His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Greek Orthodox music will also feature in the service performed by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble.
His Majesty The King has personally commissioned the new music and has shaped and selected the musical programme for the service. Paul Mealor’s ‘Coronation Kyrie’ marks the first Welsh language performance at a Coronation, and will be sung by bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel and the Choir of Westminster Abbey. There will also be be newly commissioned music by Debbie Wiseman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Roxanna Panufnik and Tarik O’Regan, as well as music that has historically featured in the service over the past four centuries including music by William Byrd, George Frideric Handel, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Henry Walford Davies, Sir William Walton, Sir Hubert Parry and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Monday 8 May
Classical Mixtape: Coronation Bank Holiday Special
19:00 – 19:30
Today’s mixtape features some of King Charles’ favourite pieces – as revealed on BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions in 2019 and at The Hospital Broadcasting Association in 2021 – as well as coronation music from down the ages.