Zadok the Priest
Zadok the Priest is a coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 anthem composed by George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

 using texts from the King James Bible. It is one of the four Coronation Anthems
Coronation Anthems
The Coronation Anthems are four anthems composed by George Frideric Handel using texts from the King James Bible, to be played at the coronation of the British monarch. They are Zadok the Priest , My Heart Is Inditing , The King Shall Rejoice and Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened...

 that Handel composed for the coronation of George II of Great Britain
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

 in 1727,The other Coronation Anthems
Coronation Anthems
The Coronation Anthems are four anthems composed by George Frideric Handel using texts from the King James Bible, to be played at the coronation of the British monarch. They are Zadok the Priest , My Heart Is Inditing , The King Shall Rejoice and Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened...

 Handel composed are: The King Shall Rejoice, My Heart is Inditing and Let thy Hand be Strengthened.
and has been sung at every subsequent British coronation
Coronation of the British monarch
The coronation of the British monarch is a ceremony in which the monarch of the United Kingdom is formally crowned and invested with regalia...

 service. It is traditionally performed during the sovereign's anointing
To anoint is to pour or smear with perfumed oil, milk, water, melted butter or other substances, a process employed ritually by many religions. People and things are anointed to symbolize the introduction of a sacramental or divine influence, a holy emanation, spirit, power or God...



Although part of the traditional content of British coronations, the texts for all four anthems were picked by Handel—a personal selection from the most accessible account of an earlier coronation—for that of James II of England
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

 in 1685. The text is derived from the biblical
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 account of the anointing of Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

. These words have been used in every English coronation since that of King Edgar
Edgar of England
Edgar the Peaceful, or Edgar I , also called the Peaceable, was a king of England . Edgar was the younger son of Edmund I of England.-Accession:...

 at Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey
The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Bath, commonly known as Bath Abbey, is an Anglican parish church and a former Benedictine monastery in Bath, Somerset, England...

 in 973.

Full text

After 1 Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...


Zadok the Priest
Zadok (High Priest)
Zadok , was a priest descended from Eleazar the son of Aaron, who aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom, and was consequently instrumental in bringing King Solomon to throne...

, and Nathan the Prophet
Nathan (Prophet)
Nathan the Prophet was a court prophet who lived in the time of King David and Queen Bathsheba. He came to David to reprimand him over his committing adultery with Bathsheba while she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite whose death the King had also arranged to hide his previous transgression.His...

 anointed Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

And all the people rejoic'd, and said:
God save the King! Long live the King!
May the King live for ever,
Amen, Allelujah
Hallelujah, Halleluyah, and the Latin form Alleluia are transliterations of the Hebrew word meaning "Praise Yah". The last syllable is from the first two letters of the name of God, YHWH, written JHVH in Latin). Hallelujah is found primarily in the book of Psalms...



Zadok the Priest is written for SS
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

Alto is a musical term, derived from the Latin word altus, meaning "high" in Italian, that has several possible interpretations.When designating instruments, "alto" frequently refers to a member of an instrumental family that has the second highest range, below that of the treble or soprano. Hence,...

The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

-BB chorus
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

 and orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

 (two oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

s, two bassoon
The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family that typically plays music written in the bass and tenor registers, and occasionally higher. Appearing in its modern form in the 19th century, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band and chamber music literature...

s, three trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s, timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

, strings
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

, continuo). The music prepares a surprise in its orchestral introduction, through the use of static layering of soft string textures, followed by a sudden rousing forte tutti entrance, augmented by three trumpets.

The middle section "And all the people rejoic'd, and said" is an imitatory dance in 3/4 time, mainly with the choir singing chord
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

ally and a dotted
Dotted note
In Western musical notation, a dotted note is a note with a small dot written after it. The dot increases the duration of the basic note by half of its original value. If the basic note lasts 2 beats, the corresponding dotted note lasts 3 beats...

 rhythm in the strings.

The final section "God save the King, etc" is a return to common time
Common Time
"Common Time" is a science fiction short story written by James Blish. It first appeared in the August 1953 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly and has been reprinted several times: in the 1959 short-story collection Galactic Cluster; in The Testament of Andros ; in The Penguin Science Fiction...

 (4/4), with the "God save the King" section heard chordally, interspersed with the Amen
The word amen is a declaration of affirmation found in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Its use in Judaism dates back to its earliest texts. It has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding word for prayers and hymns. In Islam, it is the standard ending to Dua and the...

s incorporating long semiquaver runs which are taken in turn through the six voice parts (SAATBB) with the other parts singing quaver chords accompanying it. The chorus ends with a largo plagal cadence
Cadence (music)
In Western musical theory, a cadence is, "a melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of repose or resolution [finality or pause]." A harmonic cadence is a progression of two chords that concludes a phrase, section, or piece of music...

 on "Allelujah".

Other uses

  • The UEFA Champions League Anthem, which introduces worldwide television coverage of the event and is played during pre-game ceremonies at each match, is based on this composition. It is regularly (sometimes daily) played by request on 'popular classics' radio stations in the UK such as Classic FM
    Classic FM (UK)
    Classic FM, one of the United Kingdom's three Independent National Radio stations, broadcasts classical music in a popular and accessible style.-Overview:...

  • Used in royal weddings, including that of Mary Elizabeth Donaldson
    Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark
    Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat, is the wife of Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark...

     to Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark
    Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark
    Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, Count of Monpezat, is the heir apparent to the throne of Denmark. Frederik is the elder son of Queen Margrethe II and Henrik, the Prince Consort.-Name and christening:...

    , and the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
    Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
    The wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine Middleton took place on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London. Prince William, the eldest son of Charles, Prince of Wales, first met Catherine Middleton in 2001, when both were studying at the University of St Andrews. Their...

  • Heard on television coverage of the coronation of Elizabeth II in the film Prick Up Your Ears
    Prick Up Your Ears
    Prick Up Your Ears is a 1987 film, directed by Stephen Frears, about the playwright Joe Orton and his lover Kenneth Halliwell. The screenplay was written by Alan Bennett, based on the book by John Lahr...

    coinciding with the first sexual encounter between playwright Joe Orton
    Joe Orton
    John Kingsley Orton was an English playwright.In a short but prolific career lasting from 1964 until his death, he shocked, outraged and amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies...

     (played by Gary Oldman
    Gary Oldman
    Gary Leonard Oldman is an English actor, voice actor, filmmaker and musician.A member of the 1980s Brit Pack, Oldman came to prominence via starring roles in British films Meantime , Sid and Nancy and Prick Up Your Ears , with his performance in the latter bringing him his first BAFTA Award...

    ) and his lover Kenneth Halliwell
    Kenneth Halliwell
    Kenneth Halliwell was a British actor and writer. He was the mentor, boyfriend and eventual murderer of playwright Joe Orton.- Childhood :...

     (Alfred Molina
    Alfred Molina
    Alfred Molina is a British-born American actor. He first came to public attention in the UK for his supporting role in the 1987 film Prick Up Your Ears...

  • Used in the climactic scene in the Australian movie Crackerjack to dramatically highlight a lawn bowl as it rolled down the green in slow motion.
  • Used in the coronation scene of the 2003 film Johnny English
    Johnny English
    Johnny English is a 2003 British action comedy film parodying the James Bond secret agent genre. The film stars Rowan Atkinson as the incompetent titular English spy, with John Malkovich, Natalie Imbruglia, Tim Pigott-Smith and Ben Miller in supporting roles...

  • Used during the final dramatic scene of the 2005 film Breakfast on Pluto
    Breakfast on Pluto (film)
    Breakfast on Pluto is a 2005 comedy-drama film directed by Neil Jordan and based on the novel of the same name by Patrick McCabe, as adapted by Jordan and McCabe...

  • Used in the coronation scene of Queen Victoria in the 2009 film The Young Victoria
    The Young Victoria
    The Young Victoria is a 2009 period drama film based on the early life and reign of Queen Victoria, and her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The film was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by screenwriter Julian Fellowes. Graham King, Martin Scorsese, Sarah, Duchess of...

  • Used during the Papal Coronation of Alexander VI
    Pope Alexander VI
    Pope Alexander VI , born Roderic Llançol i Borja was Pope from 1492 until his death on 18 August 1503. He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, and his Italianized surname—Borgia—became a byword for the debased standards of the Papacy of that era, most notoriously the Banquet...

     on the Showtime series The Borgias
    Borgia (TV series)
    Borgia is a historical fiction television series created by Tom Fontana. The series is a French/German production and will recount the Borgia family's rise to power and subsequent domination of the Vatican during the Renaissance.-Production:...


External links

  • Free scores of this work in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
    Choral Public Domain Library
    The Choral Public Domain Library is a sheet music archive which focuses on choral and vocal music in the public domain or otherwise freely available for printing and performing .-Description:...

  • The Coronation of King George II: sleeve notes from Hyperion recording (login required)
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