I was glad
was written for the Coronation of Edward VII in Westminster Abbey on 9 August 1902. Parry’s setting of words from Psalm 122, which is sung at the entrance of the Sovereign, incorporated the traditional acclamation ‘Vivat Rex Edwardus’, sung by the King’s Scholars of Westminster School. In general use, of course, this section is omitted. Over sixty years had elapsed since Victoria’s Coronation, so it is hardly surprising that the elaborate ceremonial did not go entirely without a hitch. For some reason the signal indicating that the King had arrived was given prematurely, and I was glad
was sung before the procession could begin. Consequently it had to be sung a second time—a rare distinction for a ‘first performance’!
The Coronation Choir consisted of some 430 men and boys, divided into Decani and Cantoris and placed on specially erected galleries in the north and south choir aisles. Since some of the singers could not see the conductor (Sir Frederick Bridge), sub-conductors were placed at strategic points to ‘relay’ the beat. With such a disposition of the singers, the double-choir writing which Parry used for ‘Jerusalem is builded …’ must have been particularly effective.
from notes by John Heighway © 1988