Zadok the Priest

Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King.

The choral entrance is spectacular here.

Has a composer ever done more with ten words and a few chords and tones? A stunning choral entrance. Then follows a fun dance as all the people rejoice – it’s much better in the live version at the actual coronation where people are actually rejoicing for the first time in ages after the end of WWII – and of course it ends with a thrilling hallelujah because Handel.

When I visited Westminster Abbey, I walked around looking for George Frederick Handel’s grave. I finally found it off in one of the side areas. People walk to and fro casually, it’s surrounded by flats of chairs and things. No one notices the grave or pays attention, it’s just a stone in the floor that people walk by constantly.

I was having a religious experience and wondering what music they played at his funeral. What was like to experiment with his compositions for the first time in the Abbey back in the day?

Listening to the anthem while driving around, via Apple Music in the Subaru, I can’t help but think – “Oh just crown the woman.” This is a great culture to keep alive – even if they’re in our Catholic Abbey and must revert one day for the benefit of their immortal souls.

But if they do, they might use guitars instead of Handel Coronation anthems. And the world is so quick to get rid of Catholic monarchies these days – one can’t blame them, really, for being skeptical. Still… they’re clearly fine with having Elton John on his piano doing things in the Abbey, so why not just revert to the one true Faith?

Here is a cleaner version for you to hear, with a great history attached for your reading pleasure, and for your music history education.



One of the last official acts of the reign of George I of Great Britain was to both naturalize George Frideric Handel as a British citizen and to commission Handel to write the coronation anthem for King George’s son and successor, George II.

As 1727 drew to a close, Britain had been enduring a generation’s worth of political and religious turmoil. The union of Scotland and England was still tenuous at best, with many Scots and English Catholics (Jacobites by name) still supporting the line of the deposed King James II.

When George I (of the House of Hanover) assumed the throne in 1714, he was hardly popular — he spoke German and not English — many Jacobites rose against him and joined James in rebellion. The rebellion was put down, but anti-Hanoverian sentiments still ran strong.

George I looked to the Old Testament for a parallel to his situation, and found one in 1 Kings. The Bible told how King David of Israel, while nearing death was facing his own succession crisis. After some deliberation, he chose his son Solomon as his heir, rather than Solomon’s ambitious half-brother Adonijah. In a grand ceremony, David’s most trusted advisors, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, annointed Solomon as king.

George feared another Jacobite uprising (which nonetheless came in 1745), and wanted to use the spectacle of his son’s coronation to establish George II as the legitimate ruler in the public’s eye.

Thus Handel was called upon to write an appropriately-grandiose set of anthems for the ceremony, and he didn’t disappoint. Four anthems were sung that day: The King Shall Rejoice, Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened, My Heart Is Inditing and Zadok the Priest, but it is the last that has endured.

Zadok the Priest was first sung during the annointing of George II during his coronation on 11 October 1727. It since has been sung at at every British coronation since 1727, the only anthem from Handel’s four to endure the last three centuries. It is traditionally performed during the sovereign’s anointing. The anthem is anything but subtle.

Regal, yes. Ambitious, yes. But subtle? I’m afraid not. It is played in four-four time, and at a slow tempo (about 60 beats per minute), picking up to ~80 bpm at the first “God save the king”. The anthem is written in seven-part SSAATBB harmony, sung in the key of D flat. The libretto was adapted from a Latin antiphon, “Unxerunt Salomonem Sadoc sacerdos”.

The running time of the piece can vary between 5:15 and 5:45, depending on the arrangement and conductor.

…*Correction in the Timeline* Charles II’s father King Charles I was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War. The English Parliament did not proclaim Charles II as king, and instead passed a statute that made any such proclamation unlawful. England entered the period known to history as the English Interregnum or the English Commonwealth and the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell.

The Parliament of Scotland, however, proclaimed Charles II king on 5 February 1649 in Edinburgh. He was crowned King of Scotland at Scone on 1 January 1651. Following his defeat by Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, Charles fled to mainland Europe and spent the next nine years in exile in France, the United Provinces and the Spanish Netherlands.

A political crisis following the death of Cromwell in 1658 resulted in Charles being invited to return and assume the throne in what became known as the Restoration. Charles II arrived on English soil on 27 May 1660 and entered London on his 30th birthday, 29 May 1660.

After 1660, all legal documents were dated as if Charles had succeeded his father in 1649. Charles was crowned King of England and Ireland at Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1661 and reigned until 1685.

From the YouTube channel entry “Zadok the Priest”, the channel of BritainShallPrevail, accessed online July 5, 2020.

On the Shroud of Turin

This photo has been circulating around social media.   A friend posted this documentary regarding the historicity of the shroud, and the developments of the scientific study.   It’s fascinating, and worth making some time to watch, as you may.    To start things off and finish them well, we have the Anima Christi,  in the original Latin, and in an English translation.    

Anima Christi, sanctifica me.
Corpus Christi, salva me.
Sanguis Christi, inebria me.
Aqua lateris Christi, lava me.
Passio Christi, conforta me.
O bone Jesu, exaudi me.
Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
Ne permittas me separari a te.
Ab hoste maligno defende me.
In hora mortis meae voca me.
Et iube me venire ad te,
Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te,
In saecula saeculorum.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Separated from Thee let me never be (“Permit me not to be separated from Thee”)
From the malicious enemy defend me (“From the malignant enemy defend me”)
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints (“That with thy Saints I may praise Thee”)
Forever and ever

Oh, and this one’s good too… as are many of the documentaries out there.

Anne Katherine Emmerich – Revisited


As the world falls apart about our ears, I thought it’d be a good idea to look up a bit more on Anne Katherine Emmerich. I hear it’s a bad night to go out, what with demonstrations all about – though have Homilies to write, dishes to wash, prayers to pray… Enough to keep me otherwise preoccupied.

Voici a bit more, from visiting the site over at alchetron. I have no idea who they are. But, they do have a good little history of her – which includes this video

The Last 20 Minutes

Titanic Sinks

A few weeks ago, on a rainy day which I had free, and which I freely took as my own to exercise, catch up on work and in general be very productive, I found myself spending my free time watching Titanic sinking videos on YouTube.

A. I’ve always had a fascination for the story of the Titanic, in all it’s horridness.
B. Its an event which changed history. The naive trust was gone from that generation,and medicinal actions were taken to help ensure the safety of future oceanic passages.
C. When things fall apart, they fall apart quickly, despite any warnings.

Anyway, me being me, I got completely absorbed (once again) in Titanic-mania, and watched almost every YouTube video available on the Titanic. You really should look them up if you’re interested in the story. While I don’t have all day to sit around watching YouTube vids, in my free time I’ve seen a number of them, and they are amazing.

I ended up buying a book called “Titanic at Two A.M.: An Illustrated Narrative with Survivor Accounts“. It’s fascinating for history or Titanic buffs. It describes in detail the last twenty minutes of the doomed liner, based entirely on testimony from the hearings in both the U.S.A. Senate, and in the British Board of Inquiry.

What actually happened is different than what you see in the movies. Somewhat, and far more horrible.

What struck me most is that many of the passengers who remained on board, the 1500 souls — many of whom were quite content to continue thinking that the ship would settle into a half sunken/unsinkable state, and that a rescue party would save them — were quite content to continue thinking that everything would go as planned, that everything would be fine, and that all would be well.

Until the last twenty minutes.

Then, all hell broke loose, and catastrophe after catastrophe happened. All in 20 minutes.

Point being, looking around at the world today, one can’t help but notice a great sense of complacency. Christian martyrs? Eh.. Growing terror threats? Whatever…

When bad things happen, they usually happen suddenly and without notice, despite all the warning signs.

And when justification happens, justification in the ways of God, it happens according to His will. Our own arrogance experiences friction with the Holiness of God, and we are somehow surprised that our ignorance, arrogance and super-humanity is somehow violated but the very laws of nature, let alone the laws of the Lord.

The best, by the way, and far more interesting than the movie “Titanic”, (sorry, the love story has gotten on my nerves, and the constant shouting of “Jack! Rose!” and “Jack! Rose!” is… well, I can say that I do like the movie overall,) is the documentary “Inside the Titanic”:

Also, this resulted in the watching of several YouTube videos of the Titanic sinking, set to the tune of “Sleeping Sun”, by Nightwish, three of which are listed below. I’m not quite sure that the lyrics fit with the actual happenings, but still it somehow works. The tune is also used in videos of other famous sinkings, such as the Olympic and the Brittanic.

The female vocalist in the group changed at some point, and I’m not sure if the difference in the sound of the voice here is due to the change or technique. But… whatever. Life beckons.

If you’re fascinated with all things Titanic, then these are of interest. If not, well, here they are anyway.

Titanic, Sleeping Sun

Titanic Sleeping Sun

May the souls of the Faithful, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

The Visitation

VisitationA friend of mine recently recounted her visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and of her captivating encounter with an medieval carving representing the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with her cousin Elizabeth.

It’s a fascinating article:

This sculpture represents a joyous encounter between two holy women, who are connected through their gestures. The Virgin Mary tenderly places her hand on the shoulder of her cousin Elizabeth, who raises her arm to her breast to declare, “Who am I, that the mother of the Lord should visit me?” (Luke 1:43). Soon after Mary learned of her miraculous conception of Jesus, she traveled to see Elizabeth, who was also expecting a child, the future John the Baptist. Carved in walnut, the figures are each inset with crystal-covered cavities, which may have originally held images of their infants. Created for a female audience, this is one of many splendid works of art from the Dominican convent of St. Katherinenthal. The original paint and gilding are almost completely preserved.

Albeit brief, the interviews are well worth the listen as well, regarding the symbolism in the carvings. “For the medieval audience, the two rock crystals are the most important element of the image.”

Christendom… it produced many beautiful things, many beautiful lives. It’s well worth a return.