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A Requiem Mass with Fanfares for Queen Elizabeth II


Amvanquish
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I am British, but If there is one composer in the world  that I would have commissioned some months back to compose a piece of music for the life of Queen Elizabeth II and played at her funeral, it would have been John Williams.

I believe that he is the only composer in the world today that could have combined the essence of Sir Edward Elgar. Sir William Walton and maybe a bit of Mozart and Beethoven into a fitting piece of  Requiem music for the British Monarch especially at her funeral today. I am sure that such a piece would have had his unique signature stamped on it of fanfares and choral highlights.

 I can only but imagine what Williams would have crafted for such an event full of pomp and circumstance that we all witnessed today.

On reading the liner notes of Fiddler on the Roof, John Williams was in on the recording sessions of the film "Battle of Britain" for the (rejected) score by Sir William Walton who he admired so he would have got a flavour of his royal ceremonial music style.

It would be interesting to hear what others think of my idea, after all, he could still compose something in her honour if asked or if  commissioned to do so

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On a positive note, hopefully, the team around King Charles III will commission a Coronation Mass (or at least a fanfare and processional) by John Williams.

 

Secondary, 2 of 29

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Brilliant idea BB-8 -But even better,  a Requiem for QEII and Coronation processional suite for CHIII.

And Bollemanneke- open your ears and eyes -if JW isnt going to concentrate on film scores any more after Indy but on his concert works , just think of the gravitas of composing a piece of music for somebody who was loved and respected the world over.

It certainly would be an interesting addition to his canon of work.

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And then of course there is the long-standing LSO connection - with its former Patron Her Majesty The Queen.

London Symphony Orchestra - A statement from the London Symphony Orchestra: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (lso.co.uk)

 

It would make sense that King Charles inherited this LSO patronage - but he may be already committed to the Philharmonia.

 

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Looks like we might live near each other, @Amvanquish: I'm in Wiltshire too.

 

A piece of music for ER would indeed have been good, but it's probably the sort of thing that the Master of the Queen's/King's Musick would be expected to do. James MacMillan composed a piece for yesterday's funeral which was rather good.

 

Much as I love JW's work, I'm not sure he's quite as great a choral composer as he is an orchestral composer. There's the whole Thomas and the King palaver, he hasn't written much choral music for films over the years, which suggests his instincts don't often lead him in that direction, and the stuff he has written has sometimes been good (Cadillac of the Skies, You Are the Pan), but often quite simplistic (e.g. Duel of the Fates and Laudamus Te are very repetitive). I wonder if he's better at wordless choral stuff than that with actual words?

 

A JW processional fanfare, on the other hand, could be absolutely crackerjack. However, whether commissioning a US composer to write something for a British coronation would play well with British composers and other vested interests is a different question!

 

Mark

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1 hour ago, bollemanneke said:

I don't really... need him to do that...

I think what we are actually discussing here is what could persuade JW to return to London.

 

A proper commission sent with a box of Royal cookies?

 

Or just the nostalgia felt by the (aging) fan base?

 

Or both?

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Alas, asking for a Requiem is a little late now as they had been planning this funeral ceremony over the past 20 years or so.

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'Sound The Bells ' was composed in honor of wedding of the Royal Japanese Couple. So given the opportunity Williams could be up for a commision. Maybe we can have the same guy who asked Williams about scoring a Bond film upto it?

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Hi Quartal Harmony

I’m in  the Trow area - be good to catch up if you’re local.

in response to others who have posted - yes I know the master of the Kings music is probably duty bound to compose for ceremonial events - I’m thinking out of the box though.

As for Choral - I’m not thinking about lyrics I’m thinking like the crescendo choral to Approaching The Stones out of Temple of Doom or the choral of Rise of Skywalker in a requiem style .

British composer Eric Coates was very good at ceremonial music outside of his Dambusters music as was Ron Goodwin with his quintessential war themes some with fanfares .

As John Williams is very much an Anglophile , I wasn’t even thinking that it would be an excuse for the LSO and JW to get together again although such a combination of a ceremonial composition would be exciting and delicious to say the least 

 

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The requiem genre has been handled by some British contemporary composers who left no lasting impression. 

 

The requiem, however, is not an ideal format for JW who is best at composing marches and triumphal processions or elegies which can be many things.

 

Methinks that to expect a requiem would be asking a lot.

 

 

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I don’t think so BB8 - if JW says he would like to do a Bond film , I see no difference in his ability to undertake a requiem or ceremonial composition of regal status . I think he would revel at doing it. Music is his life blood. As far as I can see , any genre in the concert field would not be discounted. 
Really at the end of the day , you don’t want him to do it , but I say give him the task and let’s see what he can do..

if I had the money myself , I would approach his agent and commission him - but then again I’m British and have been an avid follower of John Williams since 1971. I know he could do it - I say give him the chance and the challenge .

Who knows? the world may end up with something as recognisable as the instantly recognisable themes from Superman , Indy , Star Wars , Harry Potter , Saving Private Ryan ,-the nobility of the dinosaurs from Jurassic Pk. 
And like his Olympic themes , such a composition might be overlaid on worldwide TV events ie funerals of other leaders . 
just a thought !

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41 minutes ago, Amvanquish said:

I don’t think so BB8 - if JW says he would like to do a Bond film , I see no difference in his ability to undertake a requiem or ceremonial composition of regal status . I think he would revel at doing it. Music is his life blood. As far as I can see , any genre in the concert field would not be discounted. 
Really at the end of the day , you don’t want him to do it , but I say give him the task and let’s see what he can do..

if I had the money myself , I would approach his agent and commission him - but then again I’m British and have been an avid follower of John Williams since 1971. I know he could do it - I say give him the chance and the challenge .

Who knows? the world may end up with something as recognisable as the instantly recognisable themes from Superman , Indy , Star Wars , Harry Potter , Saving Private Ryan ,-the nobility of the dinosaurs from Jurassic Pk. 
And like his Olympic themes , such a composition might be overlaid on worldwide TV events ie funerals of other leaders . 
just a thought !

You sound a bit like Salieri ;-)

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I suggest that this hypothetical debate is combined with the following thread and continued as General Discussion.

 

 

 

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In reality, I'm not sure it would be very politick to ask an American composer to write something for a British monarch given that the UK has a range of fine composers. However, agree that a Walton-esque ceremonial would be right in his ballpark, but then I expect he wouldn't actually want to write a pastiche Walton work - fine for the finale of a little space movie (joking) but not where he'd be writing for a similar occasion that Walton's originals were written.

 

I'm glad someone mentioned the James MacMillan piece at the funeral as I thought it was wonderful and really stood out. I've never really got into the Holst/Vaughan Williams/Elgar choral tradition, a lot of it just kinda sounds generically liturgical/hymnal, without being especially memorable. Don't get me wrong, it's lovely stuff, but just a bit, I dunno, samey?! The MacMillan stood out as it had a much more through dramatic arc and was appreciably different to the rest without being anything that would offend every living head of state (approx) at a funeral. The Judith Weir work was nice but a bit underwhelming - I don't appear to have any music by her, as Master of the King's Music, maybe I should check her music out?!

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Well now that Williams will be a knight maybe he should compose something for the Queen.

 

He did write a fanfare for Prince Philip

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On 20/9/2022 at 1:53 PM, BB-8 said:

 

The requiem genre has been handled by some British contemporary composers who left no lasting impression. 


I think this made a lasting impression though.

 

 

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