As part of Hampton Court Palace's 500th anniversary celebrations, Judith Weir has received her first major commission as Master of the Queen's Music, a role she took on back in 2014. Praise Him with trumpets, jointly commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces and the Choral Foundation, will be premiered in a service of thanksgiving in the palace's Chapel Royal on 16 November. The choir, organ and trumpets will be conducted by the Chapel Royal's music director Carl Jackson.
‘My new work,' said Judith Weir, 'was written after visits to the Chapel Royal. Most influential on me was a list of suggestions sent to me by the boy choristers of the Chapel Royal; for instance “majestic and royal, full of forte and life”; “trumpets and trombones please, big and grand”; “something big and important that I will really look forward to singing again and again”.
'Having absorbed this good advice, I settled on two Psalm texts, Nos 146 and 150. Psalm 146 is thoughtful and compassionate – “The Lord feeds the hungry, and sets the Prisoner free" … it also includes the line “put no faith in princes” which I thought significant for a building founded by King Henry VIII.'
Weir joins a long line of composers who have written for the Chapel Royal over the centuries. Thomas Tallis was Gentleman of the Chapel Royal from 1542, where he composed and performed for Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth; William Byrd became Gentleman of the Chapel Royal from 1572 and was chapel organist during the reign of Elizabeth I. And Orlando Gibbons was organist from 1615 to 1625.