Royal baby music: classical music composed for Royal birthdays
With news of another Royal baby, we look at what pieces from classical music history were composed to celebrate Royal babies and birthdays of old.
1. Paul Mealor - Sleep On
Paul Mealor is responsible for one of the most recent Royal Baby pieces - he composed the beautiful lullaby 'Sleep On' for Prince George and also for soprano Hayley Westenra to perform. It ended up on her album of lullabies, entitled Hushabye. Mealor told Classic FM that her performance is the definitive one: "She sings it so beautifully, it's hard to imagine anyone else singing it now." Picture: PA
2. Olga Thomas-Bosovskaya - Lullaby for Prince George
Prince George was also the recipient of another lullaby, this time from composer Dr Olga Thomas-Bosovskaya. Simply titled 'Lullaby for Prince George', it was performed by Charlotte Jaconelli (pictured, formerly of Jonathan & Charlotte), the song was part of a charity recording released to coincide with Prince George's first birthday.
3. Johannes Brahms – Wiegenlied
OK, this 1868 lullaby (probably) wasn’t composed for Princess Charlotte. But it’s the most famous lullaby in the world, and you can't help but sing 'Go to sleep, go to sleep,' along with it. Brahms’ beautiful tune is also known as ‘Cradle Song’, and the lyrics are from a collection of German folk poems called Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Picture: Getty
4. Nicholas Staggins - various birthday odes
Master of the King's Music between 1674 and his death in 1700, Nicholas Staggins was responsible for a series of musical odes composed for William III's (pictured) birthday. Staggins was not a big name, even at the time of his tenure, and history suggests that he wasn't well-loved either, so perhaps it's best that these odes have been lost along the way…
5. Edward Elgar - Nursery Suite
Edward Elgar's Nursery Suite was written for the birth of Princess Margaret in 1930, as part of his duty as Master of the King's Music. He also dedicated the work to Princess Margaret's older sister, Elizabeth. And she went on to be Queen, so Elgar obviously did something right.
6. Walford Davies - Big Ben Looks On
Another Master of the King's Music, Walford Davies, wrote an orchestral fantasy called 'Big Ben Looks On', which might not sound familiar. However, when it was played as a piano duet by Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, it became something of a hit.
7. Michael Tippett - Suite in D for the Birthday of Prince Charles
Well there's a self-explanatory title if ever there was one. Suite in D for the Birthday of Prince Charles was composed by Michael Tippett in 1948 and premiered on national radio in November of the same year.
8. Malcolm Williamson - Songs for a Royal Baby in honour of the birth of Prince Henry of Wales
Australian composer Malcolm Williamson was Master of the Queen's Music when Prince Harry was born in 1985, so it fell to him to mark the occasion with song. He wrote the catchily-titled 'Songs for a Royal Baby in honour of the birth of Prince Henry of Wales', which turned out to be one of the last royally-inspired works of his career.
9. George Frideric Handel - Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne
It was composed to celebrate Queen Anne's birthday in 1713 rather than her actual birth, but this wonderful cantata is a present that any self-respecting (and Baroque-loving) Royal would be delighted to receive. All together now, "United nations shall combine / To distant climes their sound convey / That Anna's actions are divine / And this the most important day!" Picture: Getty