Prince of Denmark’s March, The (Clarke)

This Baroque wedding rondo is sometimes known as Trumpet Voluntary, incorrectly attributed to Henry Purcell.

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The Prince of Denmark’s March (Danish: Prins Jørgens March), also known as Trumpet Voluntary, is a rondo written c.1700 by English baroque composer Jeremiah Clarke, who was the first organist of St Paul’s Cathedral after it was rebuilt.

For many years, the piece was attributed incorrectly to Henry Purcell. This came about from an organ arrangement published in the 1870s by William Spark, which was later used by Sir Henry Wood in a version for trumpet, string orchestra, and organ. The oldest known source is a collection of keyboard pieces published in 1700. It is believed that the work was written in honor of Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne of Great Britain.

Popular as music for weddings, the march was played during the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1981 and during the wedding of Prince Joachim of Denmark and Alexandra Manley in 1995.

The march was broadcast often by the BBC Radio during World War II, especially when programming was directed to occupied Denmark, since the march was a symbol of the connection between the two countries. The broadcasts were introduced by the first bars of the tune voiced over by the words “Her er London. BBC sender til Danmark.” (This is London. BBC is broadcasting to Denmark.) Thus, in Denmark, the march became strongly associated with the opposition to Nazi occupation and propaganda. It is still performed at annual celebrations of the liberation.

For many years, The Prince of Denmark’s March remained the European Service signature tune of the BBC World Service.

James L. King III’s arrangement transposes the melody to C major from its original D major, and writes out simplified trills.

Key: C major

Mood: Regal, stately, ceremonial

Pedagogy: trills, hand-position changes, dynamics


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