Händel – Coronation anthems


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Kings College! For me this choir was the best there was. English clarity, both in recording and in voices. Founded in 1441 by the English king Henry VI, and best known for its yearly singing of Christmas carols. It exists of just sixteen boys, that must be quite an honour.

Händel wrote these pieces for the coronation of George II in 1727, but hey have been used in coronations ever since. He meant it to be sung by a larger choir: the one he had at his disposal at Westminster Abbey at the time had 47 singers. From what I can find the current King’s has sixteen boys, and fourteen undergraduates singing. So it is considerably smaller.

This is the first record I bought from a particular stand on the so called free market on Queenday in Amsterdam (on the Rozengracht). In 1992 that was still done in the night before the day itself, so while others were partying, I was out vinyl shopping. The guy I bought it from used to work at Decca, I later understood, and he had a lot of promotional items to sell. Most of these were marked “promotion not for sale” and some of these were brand new, never used (even when they were pressed in the sixties!).

This treasure trove I was to visit a few years in a row, taking away more and more records. He had good records, good quality, never used and at decent prices. Some of my best records are from that stand. My disappointment was very great when he suddenly was no longer there. Had he finally run out of records, or was he just tired of doing it every year?

It would be nice to get in contact with anybody who remembers this, or maybe even with the guy himself (too much to hope).

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