Paul Mealor’s setting of the Latin hymn Ubi Caritas was composed for the royal wedding of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton and first performed by the Choirs of Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace, conducted by James O’Donnell, at the wedding service at Westminster Abbey on Friday, April 29, 2011. This much-lauded composition is now available in the U.S.!
In Mealor’s own words: “My new piece, Ubi Caritas for the Royal Wedding, takes its text from the sixth century Christian hymn that was normally sung at the service for the washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday. The words, originally in Latin, mean: ‘Where charity and love are, God is there. Let us come together in God’s love and let us love each other with a sincere heart.’
The meaning of the words, in my mind, is two-fold: firstly, a prayer about love and, secondly, about service. After all, Jesus came to serve, and the young couple are about to enter a long period of service to the nation. I wanted to capture these two themes in my piece.
The composition is for choir and is gentle, delicate and meditative. The ancient, sixth century plainchant of Ubi Caritas is blended with 21st century harmony to create a work that, I hope, is both new and reflective of the past.
This commission came as a complete surprise to me – a letter, completely out of the blue in December saying that the royal couple had heard and enjoyed my music and wanted to include it in the ceremony – I almost fell over when I heard the news.
This is the biggest gig of any composer’s life and I am really touched that the couple have chosen me. I only hope that my work can fulfill their wish for a piece that offers meditation and quiet contemplation amongst all the pomp and celebrations.” (source: guardian.co.uk)