Nu Civilisation Orchestra perform Ellington’s The Queen’s Suite and Warriors take to The Mall for the big Jubilee Pageant.
June kicked off with the long Bank Holliday weekend and all the pomp, pageantry and parties to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Nu Civilisation Orchestra were part of the Southbank Centre’s Jubilee Programme on the Friday night, with musical director Peter Edwards leading a 15-piece line-up through Duke Ellington’s The Queen’s Suite as well as Edwards’ own mesmerising composition, Above and Beyond the Horizon, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Ellington wrote the suite especially for the Queen following a meeting between the two in Leeds in 1958. The Queen had just missed Ellington’s performance that evening, and the beguiled bandleader promised he would write her a special piece of music.
Ellington was true to his word and wrote The Queen’s Suite recorded it and presented the only copy to the royal household. The suite was shrouded in mystery until after his death and its subsequent general release and contains some of Ellington’s most beautiful (and challenging) compositions. This collection has long been a favourite of Edwards and you could tell from the performance that his love of the music had spread to every member of the orchestra.
Sunday was the day of the big Jubilee Pageant on the Mall and Warriors were on stage in front of Buckingham Palace backed a 400-strong children’s choir to kick off proceedings.