Zadok the Priest

Coronation Anthem by George Frideric Handel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The four anthems The King Shall Rejoice, My Heart is Inditing, Let thy Hand be Strengthened, and Zadok the Priest
were composed by George Frideric Handel for the coronation of King George II in 1727, and are thus known as the
Coronation Anthems. Zadok the Priest has been sung at every British coronation during the anointing of the sovereign
since 1727.

Part of the traditional content of British coronations, the texts for all four anthems were picked by Handel
— a personal selection from the most accessible account of an earlier coronation, that of James II in 1685.
The text is a translation of the traditional antiphon, Unxerunt Salomonem, itself derived from the biblical
account of the anointing of Solomon. These words have been used in every English, and later British, coronation
since that of King Edgar at Bath Abbey in 973. An earlier setting had been written by Henry Lawes for the coronation
of King Charles II.

At the coronation itself on 11 October 1727, the choir of Westminster Abbey sang Zadok the Priest in the wrong part of the
service; they had earlier entirely forgotten to sing one anthem and another ended “in confusion”.

Practice files are available here:


Harry Christophers conducting The Sixteen (Chorus entrance at about 1:36)