And suddenly the title of composer Judith Weir changed. She is now the King’s Master of Music.
Before conjuring up images of obedient squire hopping between thrones and turntables, the position of Master is actually 396 years old, born in 1626 under the first King Charles. music.
In ancient times, masters were responsible for composing all kinds of royal music, from marches and fanfares to coronation hymns to biblical settings for funerals and weddings.
Over the centuries, the Master’s function as a musician, composing and performing primarily for the pleasure of the sovereign, evolved into something more akin to the Poet Laureate. liaison between the wider world of music and the relative vacuum of the palace.
At 68, London-based Weir is the first woman to hold the title of Master. She has only 20 predecessors, most of whom were tenured. John Eccles was appointed in 1700 and under four monarchs he served for 35 years. For example, his 31-year sprawling post of Sir Walter Parratt spanned three crowns. In 1924, Edward Elgar took over.
Since the appointment of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in 2004 (after the 2003 death of sassy Australian composer and maestro Malcolm Williamson), the position has been a ten-year term.
British composer and ‘The Queen’s master of music’ Peter Maxwell Davies dies at 81
Weir seemed a natural fit for the job at hand when he was appointed Master in 2014. In 1995 she was awarded a CBE (British High Order of Chivalry) and in 2007 she was awarded the Queen’s Order of Music was appointed president of the Society of Musicians).
Her voice as a composer also fits the bill. She has produced exciting and kinetic works for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra and her Sinfonietta in London. But, as her choral work shows, she is also adept at building gigantic, glowing sound columns. Her magic is her majesty.
In her primary role as master, Weir composed many works for royal occasions and ceremonies. For the 100th anniversary of the Armistice in 1918, she composed ‘The True Light’, which was premiered by the Choir of Westminster Abbey. Most recently, at the Queen’s Platinum Her Jubilee Celebration in June, Weir premiered her “By Wisdom”. On her left are wealth and honor. “
It is unclear which of Weir’s works will be included in the Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday, and the music program remains under a strict embargo. We know that the Royal Choir will perform under James O’Donnell, the Abbey’s music director, organist and master of the choir. And Weir’s way with the chorus tends to pave the way to God.
What will happen to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral? Here’s what we know so far.
A few days after the Queen’s death, I met Weir on the phone to talk about her historical status, her memories with the Queen, and her hopes for what life would sound like under Charles III. .
Q: I’m sure this possibility was close at hand, but after the Queen’s passing, did it feel different than you expected?
A: It hit us all. We knew the Queen was very old and going at some point, but the actual moment, it’s a good deal. , we knew it was coming. , otherwise had to be involved in these big services. It’s her anniversary. So we’re a little more used to the kind of things we do.
Q: Have you preselected the details of the music programs you’ll be listening to over the next few days?
A: Honestly, the answer is no. While I am contributing to these opportunities, it is the music directors of the cathedrals involved who are really on the sharp edge of the selection. I think my title sounds like I’m in much more charge than I am! But I’m a composer and that’s pretty much how I contribute.
Q: What is your role in particular?
A: I’ve been doing this for nine years now, and in normal times there is at least one big event every year, which includes a large worship service and a concert. That’s why I write new music. I try to be an intermediary between musicians and other people who may need my help. And there are some palace duties, notably the medal that the Queen presents each year to the principal musicians. She spent a lot of time on these presentations. … and much more. Each year the Queen’s Gardens is asked to invite a troupe of music people to her party. It’s quite a task.
Q: What was the old school master of Kings Music doing?
A: Well, not that many emails! Many of them were musicians and that was the beginning. Charles I, who started this work, was very jealous of the King of France. Violin du Roy — 24 violins of the king. I left the music director and the conductor. Today, I’ve been a composer for quite some time.
Q: When composing within your royal authority, to what extent do you take into account, for example, the Queen’s personal musical tastes?
A: In my experience, the Queen was good at music. She grew up musically with piano lessons, doing madrigal songs etc in her youth. She had a great deal of respect for the musician and showed her much understanding. In addition to her wonderful experiences, especially those related to her, such as her military band, which has many great bands in this country. And of course the church choir too, because she was head of the Church of England and had a very detailed knowledge of them. We used to discuss music a lot, and the specific music she wanted to hear was my guess. She thinks she must have liked the kind of music they traditionally played, especially the choral music repertoire of the late 19th century. [Charles Villiers] to Stanford [Herbert] Howells. It’s the kind of repertoire she was familiar with.
I didn’t write, nor did I feel, that it was to please the monarch in particular. did.
Q: Around the anniversary, there was a great deal of commotion over the Queen’s shortlist of favorite songs that was announced, and I recall being struck by what seemed to be her tendency to delight. Fred Astaire’s “Oklahoma!” Songs such as Cheek to Cheek. Not what I assumed of the Queen.
A: Yes, Vera Lynn’s White Cliffs of Dover wasn’t included? Very interesting. First, I have no idea how that list was compiled. I can certainly say that I don’t specifically remember talking to the Queen about those titles. I think she could have gotten better. One of the memories of her that we all have of her is this incredible smile that really brightens her up and brightens us up. And I don’t think it was fake. It’s often said that she had a great sense of humor — a very dry sense of humor — but I think of her as a bubbly, good-humoured person.
Q: The Queen’s passing is such a cultural shift. How are you coping with your role during this transitional period?
A: I think most of us grew up with Prince Charles as we know it. He’s actually a very unusual lover of classical music. He was a cellist in his youth, played in the university orchestra, and had a great love for classical music. He made some very moving remarks when he was interviewed about his interests, revealing it to be absolutely top of the list. I don’t think ‘s interest will ever diminish, and I’m hopeful that once he gets over the huge backlog of work he has to do, we’ll have the chance to do more.
Q: Is there a particular piece of music that we know of — we’ll be hearing a lot of in the next few days — Does it still touch you in unexpected ways?
A: It goes without saying that William Byrd’s “Lord, make your servant Elizabeth” is because he named Elizabeth I in that national anthem. There is something that really resonates with me. I don’t know if anyone will sing it, but it’s clear that they should.