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The Honours of Scotland

1 Jul 2023

News Story

On Wednesday 5 July King Charles III will be presented with the Honours of Scotland – the Scottish Crown Jewels – as part of a Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication at St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh. On the day there will also be a people's procession of about 100 community groups collecting the honours from Edinburgh Castle.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is very proud to be playing a significant role in this historic event, with several SCO musicians playing in The Honours of Scotland Ensemble which is made up of musicians from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Scottish Ballet Orchestra, all of which His Majesty was Patron as Prince of Wales. The SCO’s Stephanie Gonley (pictured below) will direct the Ensemble which will also be joined by The Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral, conducted by Master of the Music Michael Harris, and the National Youth Choir of Scotland Chamber Choir, conducted by Mark Evans.

Five new pieces of music, including one composed in Gaelic, have been commissioned by His Majesty The King for the service which celebrates Their Majesties’ Coronation. The music, personally chosen by His Majesty, will join a rich mix of music performed at the Service to reflect Scottish history and culture with performers representative of contemporary Scotland.

State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry will begin the Service. A Gaelic Psalm by Paul Mealor, written especially for the Service will be sung by Joy Dunlop, in recognition of Scotland’s linguistic heritage.

A new arrangement of Scottish folk songs chosen by The King and arranged by Ayrshire-born composer Jay Capperauld will be performed by The Honours of Scotland Ensemble. Jay is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is well known to SCO audiences in his current position as Associate Composer of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Against a red background, a man in a dark jacket and shirt looks out of frame. His face is illuminated by a light from above.
It is a great privilege to have been asked to compose this new piece ‘Schiehallion!’ for the Honours of Scotland ceremony and to celebrate Scottish culture through traditional tunes that have been specially selected by King Charles III to reflect His Majesty’s personal connection with Scotland.

Jay Capperauld

Scottish violinist, Festival Director of Edinburgh International Festival and Honorary President of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Nicola Benedetti CBE (pictured above) joins The Honours of Scotland Ensemble for Peter Maxwell DaviesFarewell to Stromness and Rebecca Dale’s arrangement of ‘Soay’ from The Lost Songs of St Kilda; trumpeter Aaron Azunda Akugbo and St Giles’ Assistant Organist Jordan English perform Henry Purcell’s Trumpet Tune; and classical accordionist Ryan Corbett, performs Loch Katrine’s Lady by Phil Cunningham.

A new commission by Joanna Gill, A Song of Thanksgiving and Dedication, set in the Doric language, will be performed by Scottish mezzo-soprano and Patron of the National Youth Choir of Scotland National Girls’ Choir, Karen Cargill and instrumentalists and composers The Ayoub Sisters. The piece was composed as a tribute to The Queen as Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, of which Joanna is a graduate.

At the conclusion of the Service, Fanfare Trumpeters of the Band of the Royal Air Force College and the Honours of Scotland Ensemble will perform Paul Mealor’s Recessional: The Call of Lochnagar. The new march has been written with Their Majesties’ love for Balmoral and the surrounding countryside in mind.

A performance before the start of the Service will include music composed or arranged by the likes of George Frederick Handel, Cecilia McDowall, Hamish MacCunn, Sir James MacMillan CBE, Sir Hugh Roberton, Henry Purcell, Errollyn Wallen CBE, Judith Weir CBE, Ralph Vaughan Williams, The Ayoub Sisters, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies CH CBE, Dougie MacLean OBE and Jay Capperauld, as well as traditional tunes set to the words of Robert Burns.

The Honours of Scotland ceremony will be broadcast on BBC1 and BBC Radio 3 on Wednesday 5 July from 1.30pm.

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