Renowned composer commissioned to write for the King

The re-interment of King Richard III will be take place accompanied by music written by prize-winning composer Judith Bingham.

This event is unprecedented and so Leicester Cathedral wishes to ensure that the liturgy and music used in the services planned for March 2015 will carry both a profound sense of history whilst communicating afresh to our contemporary community his Christian spirituality.

The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, said: ‘I am delighted that Judith Bingham is composing this new work for King Richard III’s re-interment.  It will therefore receive its premiere on Thursday 26 March.  Judith has sensitively researched texts which bring to life the spirituality of his time, yet which still resonate with us in a world that remains laden with battles, betrayal and the scars of war.’

Some suggest King Richard III owned a copy of Wycliffe’s scriptures.  The text for this anthem will draw on verses from Psalm 42 taken from Wycliffe’s bible.  John Wycliffe was Rector of Lutterworth in Leicestershire.  This will include these verses: ‘While my bones be broken altogether; mine enemies, that trouble me, despised me.  While they say to me, by all days; Where is thy God?’  Additionally words from the epitaph of Sir Marmaduke Constable of Flamborough, a Knight of the King’s company who served at Bosworth, will bring the anthem to its conclusion.  These words speak of God’s abiding goodness even facing death:  ‘And now he abydyth God’s mercy, and hath no other socure Ffor, as ye se hym here, he lieth under this stone.’

Judith Bingham is delighted:  ‘I am thrilled and deeply honoured to be writing an anthem for the re-interment of Richard III.  This is a unique opportunity for any composer and I hope to bring to it the respect and solemnity it deserves.’

Dr Christopher Johns, Director of Music for Leicester Cathedral, said: ‘I’m delighted that Judith Bingham will be composing an anthem for the re-interment service.  We know that the quality of liturgical music was very important to King Richard, as he went to great lengths to recruit the very best musicians of the day to the choral foundations with which he was associated.  Judith is rightly regarded as one of the leading composers of contemporary choral music and this, coupled with her keen interest in late Medieval history, make her the ideal person to write a piece for the burial in the 21st century of a 15th century monarch.’

The news of Judith Bingham’s commission was announced at a dinner held last night at the Museum of St John, London, and attended by the descendants of both sides who fought at the battle of Bosworth.