Boosey & Hawkes

God Save the Queen (The National Anthem)

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Benjamin Britten
SATB divisi
Scoring: 2,2,2,2; 4,2,3,1; timps; 2 perc (cymb, sd, bd), strings

Britten also made a reduced orchestration in 1967:2,2,2,2; 2,2,0,1(ad lib); timps; 2 perc (cymb, sd, bd) strings

Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes

Difficulty level: 1-2

This unusual arrangement of the British National Anthem was written for the Leeds Festival and sets two verses. The first is miraculously piano and the hushed awe engendered is extraordinary. How did he come up with something so simple and so original? This verse is in E-flat major. Four bars later and a molto crescendo past we are in a flag waving B-flat major and singing for all we are worth. The final phrase is repeated twice to round the whole thing off. It is a prime example of the simplest things so often being the most effective, as heard when this version has been programmed at The Last Night of the Proms.

Duration: 3 minutes

Paul Spicer, Lichfield, 2011