Ten Pieces - Zadok The Priest
Test your knowledge on Zadok The Priest by Handel.

Ten Pieces - Zadok The Priest

If you have enjoyed the Ten Pieces at BBC Bitesize, you may also enjoy this KS2 Music quiz about Handel's Coronation Anthem, Zadok The Priest.

The King Shall Rejoice, My Heart is Inditing, Let thy Hand be Strengthened and Zadok the Priest were all written by Handel for the coronation of King George II in 1727. Together they are known as his Coronation Anthems. Unlike the other three works though, Zadok the Priest has been sung at every British coronation since.

Zadok the Priest is a character in the Bible who crowns King Solomon:

1 Kings 39 - And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon.

Have a go at this quiz and get the measure of this splendid piece of music.

This music refers originally to a famous king in the Bible: which king?
Abraham wasn't a king!
Which British monarch was crowned in 1727?
George I
George II
George III
George IV
George II's father, George I had been the king who signed the papers for Handel to become a British citizen (Handel had been born in Germany too). George II's coronation was then the first one at which the piece was used
Handel wrote a whole opera, about 20 years later, on the life story of Solomon. Another famous piece of majestic music in that opera helps to set the atmosphere for a 'major state occasion': what is its title?
King Solomon's Mines
The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
The Betrothal of the Prince
The Royal Wedding
You may recognise this piece if you hear it: it has some of the same elements of 'processional excitement' as in Zadok.
King Solomon's Mines is a somewhat more recent archaeological adventure novel by Rider Haggard, clearly taking as its starting-point a similar fascination with Solomon
The piece is famous for its long, processional build-up before the chorus bursts into song ... typically lasting around a minute in performance, especially in a large resonant building where it needed to be performed slowly (majestically, even). How many bars of music are there in the introduction?
Very easy to count off, if you have a copy of the printed music to follow
'And all the people rejoiced and said:' (... what?)
'For he's a jolly good fellow'
'God save the king'
'Long live King Solomon'
'Long to reign over us'
Not very surprising, really, in the context!
To make the sound even grander, Handel sub-divides most of the four chorus parts (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) into two lines, making seven in all. Which is the only part that he does NOT split in this way?
There is only one tenor chorus line
At the end of the stately opening procession, the tempo (time) of the music changes to become quicker, jauntier and more festive. When the chorus sings 'And all the people rejoiced ...', how many beats are there to the bar?
There is almost the feeling of a waltz about it (though the waltz hadn't yet been invented in the 1720s!) : AND all the PEople reJOIced ('1 ... 2 ... 3 ... ')
Then, how many beats are there to the bar when they move on to sing 'God save the King'?
The last beat of the 4 is a 'rest': a short silence while 'GOD SAVE the KING' echoes and dies away. Very dramatic! (Other things happen on the 4th beat once this section gets properly underway)
What is the LAST word sung in the piece?
This is a fully appropriate, old Hebrew word meaning 'praise be to God' ... such as one would expect the nation to have used at Solomon's original actual coronation
Lots of instruments play during this piece, but if it's being performed 'authentically' (as Handel intended) you would only hear ONE of the following listed instruments in action. Which one?
A pair of kettledrums (tuned, one each, to the keynote and one other pitch) provided the biggest, deepest noise in the band. The piano had barely been invented in Handel's day, nor the saxophone (until well over a century later), and there is no part for harp in this work
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC - KS2: George Frideric Handel - Zadok the Priest

Author:  Ian Miles

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