Handel’s “Zadok the Priest” is part of royal tradition and performed at coronations, the last being Queen Elizabeth II.
George Frideric Handel is best known for annual holiday tradition “Messiah” (which was originally meant for Easter), and for quite a few other works such as “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” and the “Water Music”. He was born in 1685, an amazing vintage for composers – Domenico Scarlatti and JS Bach were born the same year.
Handel is perhaps one of the most famous immigrants England ever welcomed. He made his way there in 1712 as his fame as a composer grew, to permanently reside. He was composing operas, oratorios, and sonatas, especially for oboe, one of his favourite instruments. He didn’t have the same compositional skills as Bach, but what he could do, he mastered absolutely.
Handel received a commission to compose four anthems for the Coronation of King George II. One of these, “Zadok the Priest”, is performed at coronations to this day. Below is the footage of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. This took place at Westminster Abbey, where Handel was buried. Whenever I hear this incredibly majestic music, I’m reminded that I’m half English. I feel like I should rise from my seat and curtsy.
George Frideric Handel was born February 23, 1865 in Halle, Germany, and died April 14, 1759 in London, England.