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Crown Imperial

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William Walton

William Walton (arr. William James Duthoit)

Subtitle: A Coronation March, 1937

General Info

Year: 1937
Duration: c. 10:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - $120.00   |   Score Only - Unknown


Full Score
Flute I-II-III (III doubling Piccolo)
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Clarinet Solo-I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Bass Saxophone (or Contrabass Clarinet)
B-flat Trumpet
B-flat Cornet [Solo or I]-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Field Drum
  • Large Gong
  • Orchestra bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle


In parts:

  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone 16 meas. after reh. 6: Add rehearsal no. 7
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone, 17 meas. after reh. 6: Delete printed rehearsal no. 7
  • Euphonium BC, 2nd meas.of 21, first beat: Rest missing beneath Bass Tromb. cue
  • Euphonium TC, 15th meas. of 24, second quarter note: E natural should be D natural
  • Drums, 3 meas. after reh. 26, beat 1, top system (snare drum): Quarter rest should read eighth rest

Program Notes

This work was commissioned by the British Broadcasting Corp. for the coronation of King George VI on May 12, 1937. The BBC Orchestra has premiered the work (with many composer recalls) six days earlier. The title is taken from the poem In Honour of the City of London by William Dunbar (1465-1520) and the quotation "In beauty bearing the Crown Imperial," was quoted by Walton at the head of his original score.

The enormous strength and sense of tonality of this brilliant coronation march come from the Tudor choral style which Walton knew so well. The first section has a quietly rhythmic opening which gradually builds to a splendid climax. A broad and stately melody, typically English in its majestic sonority, then provides the contrast to the first section, and the two themes are repeated and varied in the march to the finale.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

The music begins with a woodwind choir carrying a syncopated, energetic melody, which then grows into a proud and vibrant tune in the brass and recurs throughout the work. Between these recurrences are lyrical sections taken at a more relaxed tempo, to be played in a grandiose and stately manner. The robust melodic themes intend to convey a sense of nationalistic pride that is brought to fruition in the last, and most impactful, minute of the piece. Crown Imperial is a classic march that celebrates a modern era of the British Crown, beginning in the early 20th century.

- Program Notes by Hannah Hadden and Zia Leigh for the Marcus High School Wind Symphony

Crown Imperial was originally composed for the coronation of King Edward VIII. However, Edward abdicated his throne and Crown Imperial was performed at the coronation of King George VI instead. Crown Imperial was also chosen to be performed at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and as the recessional piece in the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

'In beauty bearing the Crown Imperial.'

(William Dunbar, 1465-1520)

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • McClellan College (Waco, Tx.) Concert Band (Jon Conrad, conductor) - 5 March 2020
  • California State University Bakersfield Concert Band (Leo Sakamoto, conductor) – 23 November 2019
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Wind Symphony (James Batcheller, conductor) – 29 November 2018
  • Northwestern Michigan College (Traverse City) Concert Band (Patricia Brumbaugh, conductor) - 26 October 2018
  • McPherson (Kan.) College Concert Band (Kyle Hopkins, conductor) – 8 May 2018
  • Parkland College (Champaign, Ill.) Concert Band (Larry Stoner, conductor) - 6 May 2018
  • Dallas (Tex.) Winds (Jerry Junkin, conductor) – 17 April 2018
  • New England Conservatory (Boston, Mass.) Senior Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble (Michael Mucci, conductor) – 18 December 2017
  • San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 21 May 2017 
  • San Jose (Calif.) Wind Symphony (Edward C. Harris, conductor) – 5 March 2017
  • West Chester (Penn.) University Wind Symphony (M. Gregory Martin, conductor) – 29 September 2016
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Ensemble (David T. Kehler, conductor) – 18 April 2016
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Stephen Pratt, conductor) 5 April 2016
  • United States Army Band (Ft. Myer, Va.) (Timothy J. Holtan, conductor) – 6 February 2016
  • Bob Jones University (Greenville, S.C.) Symphonic Wind Band (Dan Turner, conductor) – 10 November 2015
  • Marcus High School (Flower Mound, Tex.) Wind Symphony (Amanda Drinkwater, conductor) - 13 February 2015 (2015 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • Austin Civic Wind Ensemble (Texas) (Gary Sapp, conductor) - 9 November 2014
  • Tokyo (Japan) Kosei Wind Orchestra(Frederick Fennell, conductor) – 20 April 2000
  • Arts Academy Band [Interlochen, Mich.] (Frederick Fennell, conductor) - 2 March 1974

Works for Winds by This Composer