Cantate Domino

        Church Music






Sheet Music Downloads plus Audio Files

Home Choral Hymns Organ Carols

Zadok The Priest (Coronation Anthem Number 1) HWV 258


George Frideric Handel

SSAATBB and organ or Piano

Two versions; Organ accompaniment / Piano Accompaniment


Zadok, the Priest, and Nathan, the Prophet, anointed Solomon King; and all the people rejoiced, and said:
God save the King, long live the King, may the King live for ever! Amen! Alleluja!


Zadok - Handel (Organ)

Zadok - Handel (Piano)

Created 07-Nov-08 Revised 13-Apr-09

Händel: Zadok the Priest

Rehearsal Training Aids for Zadok The Priest (Coronation Anthem No 1) can be obtained by clicking here


Zadok the Priest (HWV 258) is a coronation anthem composed by George Frideric Handel (1685 -1759) using texts from the King James Bible. It is one of the four Coronation Anthems that Handel composed for the coronation of George II of Great Britain in 1727. and has been sung at every subsequent British coronation service. It is traditionally performed during the sovereign's anointing.


Although they have been part of the traditional content of British coronations, the texts for all four anthems were picked by Handel himself, much to the consternation of the participating clergy. It is believed that Handel made a personal selection from the most accessible account of an earlier coronation, that of James II of England in 1685. Though the text derives from the biblical account of the anointing of Solomon, it is not a direct quote, but a paraphrase, possibly by the composer himself.

Full text

After 1 Kings 1:38-40

Zadok, the Priest and Nathan, the Prophet anointed Solomon King.
And all the people rejoic'd, and said:
'God save The King, long live The King, may The King live for ever!


Zadok the Priest is written for SS-AA-T-BB chorus and orchestra (two oboes, two bassoons, three trumpets, timpani, strings, continuo). The music builds up tension in its orchestral introduction, by layering semiquavers and quavers together, and then when the choir comes in a sense of drama by having the choir sing in the longer notes of crotchets and minims.

The middle section "And all the people rejoic'd, and said" is an imitatory dance in 3/4 time, mainly with the choir singing chordally and a dotted rhythm in the strings.

The final section "God save the King, etc" is a return to common time (4/4), with the "God Save the King" section heard chordally, interspersed with the Amens incorporating long semiquaver runs which are taken in turn through the six voice parts (SAATBB) with the other parts singing quaver chords accompanying it. The chorus ends with a largo Baroque cadence on "Alleluia".

Other uses

  • The UEFA Champions League Anthem, which introduces worldwide television coverage of the event and is played during pre-game ceremonies at each match, is based on this composition. It is regularly (sometimes daily) played by request on 'popular classics' radio stations in the UK such as Classic FM.

  • Miss Mary Elizabeth Donaldson used this piece when she walked down the aisle to her wedding with Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark at Copenhagen Cathedral on 14 May 2004.

  • The music is used ironically in the film of Alan Bennett's play The Madness of King George, in the scene in which the king is first restrained and taken to an asylum, and then again over the closing credits. (The track is called He Will Be Restrained on the soundtrack CD.)

  • Provided the opening theme for the television series Royal Heritage (1977), a survey of Britain's royal builders and collectors.

  • Used in P&O cruises' adverts and commercials on television.

  • Used in the climactic scene in the Australian movie Crackerjack to dramatically highlight a lawn bowl as it rolled down the green in slow motion.

  • Used in the coronation scene of the 2003 film Johnny English.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Metasyntactic variable".

Previous Next
Ubi Caritas - Serge Ollive Zion hört die Wächter singen (Zion hears her watchmen's voices) - Johann Sebastian Bach