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Behold, O God our defender

25 December 1952; commissioned as the introit for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
author of text
Psalm 84: 9-10

In November 1952, Howells was invited to compose a short Introit for the Coronation Service of Queen Elizabeth II. The text was to be verses from Psalm 84, beginning ‘Behold, O God our defender’. He completed this quiet, reflective prelude to a great state occasion at the end of that year, on Christmas Day. For the Coronation itself the combined choirs were large and Howells provided a fully orchestrated score, but this sensitive anthem is more usually heard, as here, with smaller forces and organ accompaniment.

from notes by Paul Andrews 2016


Howells: Collegium Regale & other choral works
Studio Master: CDA68105Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Howells: St Paul's Service & other works
CDA66260Archive Service


Track 13 on CDA68105 [3'29]
Track 5 on CDA66260 [4'02] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDA66260 track 5

Recording date
10 June 1987
Recording venue
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Howells: St Paul's Service & other works (CDA66260)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: April 1988
    Deletion date: October 1998
    Archive Service
  2. Howells: St Paul's Service & other works (CDD22038)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: October 1998
    Deletion date: March 2012
    2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1) Superseded by CDA66260
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