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This Handel piece is literally fit for a king

Cecilia Music - published on 11/06/16

Zadok the Priest, written for a coronation, is performed again in all its regal glory

The text of “Zadok the Priest” is taken from the Book of Kings (1 Kings 1:38-40): “Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ And all the people went up after him, playing pipes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.”

The hymn “Zadok the Priest,” the most famous composed by Georg Friedrich Händel, recounts the anointing of Solomon described in the first book of Kings (1 Kings 1:38-40). It begins with a majestic orchestral prelude so brief that it explodes in jubilation in the choir’s words: “Zadok the Priest anointed Solomon King.” Both by reason of the celebratory occasion for which it was written — it was performed during the anointing of the king — and for the solemnity and brilliancy of the music, “Zadok the Priest” remains the most famous of the four anthems. In fact, it is still performed today during coronation ceremonies.

The performance by the English Concert directed by Howard Arman, with the crystalline brilliancy of the brass and impeccable performance of the strings, as well as the warmth of the woodwinds and the almost perfect balance of the choir’s polyphony, faithfully interprets this piece, capturing the grandeur, majesty and jubilee which characterize it.

Gabriele Croci


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