I was glad when they said unto me       Charles Hubert Hastings Parry

I was glad when they said unto me, 

We will go into the house of the Lord.

Our feet shall stand in thy gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is builded as a city that is at unity in itself.

Vivat Regina Elizabetha! Vivat! Vivat! Vivat!

(Long live Queen Elizabeth.)

O pray for the peace of Jerusalem,

They shall prosper that love thee.

Peace be within thy walls,

And plenteousness within thy palaces.

Psalm 122, vv 1-3, 6, 7 (with interpolation)

This popular anthem was composed in 1902 for the coronation of King Edward VII and subsequently revised for the coronations of George V in 1911 and Elizabeth II in 1953. The words (from the Latin Psalm ‘Laetatus Sum’) have been used in one musical setting or another for the coronation of every British monarch since Charles I in 1625. It is sung as the sovereign enters Westminster Abbey and processes up the nave to the theatre of coronation. Apart from the imperial splendour of the music, the chief innovation is the incorporation in the central section of the acclamation "Vivat Rex…" or "Vivat Regina…" followed by a Latinised version of the monarch’s name (e.g. Vivat Rex Georgius – Long Live King George) with which the King's or Queen's Scholars of Westminster School greet the entrance of the monarch (a tradition which has been happening since the coronation of King James II in 1685). This section has to be rewritten every time a new monarch is crowned because the Sovereign is mentioned by name. Parry indicated in the score scope for an improvisatory fanfare between the two, should the length of the procession and timing require it: the Scholars shout their greeting as the Sovereign (and his or her Consort) pass through the Quire and up into the Theatre. At the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, the acclamation took the form of "Vivat Regina Elizabetha". This acclamation, often omitted in normal usage, will be included this evening. At the first performance at the 1902 coronation, the Director of Music, Sir Frederick Bridge, misjudged the timing and had finished the anthem before King Edward had arrived, having to repeat it when the right moment came. Bridge was saved by the organist, Walter Alcock, who improvised in the interim. The music falls into clear sections: Following a bold instrumental introduction the choir enters in 8 parts, singing antiphonally with the second choir always following the first choir by a short distance. This is followed by fanfares leading into the forceful ‘Vivat’ section of triumphant choral acclamations. The music then subsides into a more tranquil passage for “O pray for the Peace...” before building to a mighty conclusion.