When Queen Caroline, the wife of King George II of England , died on 20 November 1737, Handel was commissioned to write an anthem for her funeral service. She was buried in King Henry VII’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, on the evening of 17 December 1737, with Handel’s work performed after the funeral service.
To emphasize the solemnity of the occasion he used a roughly 100-piece orchestra and 80 choristers. The piece is a so-called “full anthem” consisting of an instrumental Introduction (“Symphony”) and thirteen interlinked choruses. The words were written by Edward Willes , the Sub-Dean of Westminster at that time, using passages from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, albeit sometimes departing from the original wording.
The absence of sections for solo voice has made this anthem a favourite among ambitious choruses and a highlight of any concert programme. Our edition contains the original unabridged version with English text. Martin Focke’s piano reduction follows the Urtext of the Halle Handel Edition.
– Original unabridged version
– Urtext from the Halle Handel Edition