Sir William Walton’s Coronation March, ‘Crown Imperial’

As a short companion piece to Joe Doyle’s fine Reflections on the Second Elizabethan Age, I propose to introduce to our readers who might be unfamiliar with it the coronation march that was performed at Her Majesty, Elizabeth II’s coronation: Sir William Walton’s “Crown Imperial.” (I say “performed” on purpose; it was originally commissioned for the coronation of the recently deceased Queen’s father, George VI, in 1937.)

In college, I had the thrill of playing this piece with a very good wind ensemble, and I loved it. Being a euphonium player — and considering something of the nature of transcriptions from orchestra to band — I played much of what the cellos were called upon to do in the original. (To quote the Emperor from Amadeus: “Too many notes!”)

The piece is demanding, but a genuine joy to play.

There are numerous recordings of it available online. Here is Walton’s orchestral original, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Sir Roger Norrington:

And here, likely in the same arrangement for band that I played over thirty years ago, is the “President’s Own” Marine Corps Band performing it under the direction of Col. Timothy W. Foley: