Mercoledi Musicale

In 1967 Benjamin Britten arranged the Royal Anthem* for the opening of the Snape Maltings arts complex. It is unusual in that the first verse, the one we are all familiar with, begins in the hushed tones of a prayer. It than builds to a three-fold cry of “Long May She Reign”. It has always been my favourite arrangement and in light of the festivities that have begun to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee I thought I would made it this week’s Musicale choice.

If the Britten arrangement is unusual this version of it is equally unusual.

In June of 2020 The Vox Medicalis Choir in Bucharest was to participate in the Queen’s Birthday Celebration at the British Embassy. Because of COVID it wasn’t to happen but none the less the Choir decided to pay their respects by making this video. Though the recording of Britten conducting it at the opening is quite splendid I found this version very touching.

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen!

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour,
Long may she reign!
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen!

Traditional; earliest known version by John Bull (1562–1628)

* Here in Canada our national anthem is Oh Canada** and God Save the Queen is recognized as the Royal Anthem. The governor general and provincial lieutenant governors are accorded the “Viceregal Salute”, comprising the first three lines of “God Save the Queen”, followed by the first and last lines of “O Canada”.

.** My good friend and copy editor Pierre discovered two errors in today’s post. I corrected one but I’ll just leave this one and think of it as a Freudian slip.

The word for June 1st is:
Reign /rān/: [1. noun 2. verb]
1.1 The period during which a sovereign rules.
1.2 The period during which someone or something is predominant or preeminent.
2.1 To hold royal office; rule as king or queen.
2.2 To be predominate.
Middle English: from Old French reignier ‘to reign’, reigne ‘kingdom’, from Latin regnum, related to rex, reg- ‘king’.

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