Sir John Eliot Gardiner reveals he was summoned to the 74-year-old monarch’s Windsor home and was asked to lead the Monteverdi Choir at the May 6 ceremony just before Christmas.

AceShowbiz -King Charles asked a conductor to perform at his coronation during a night of “large” gin and tonics. The 74-year-old monarch, who will be crowned alongside his 75-year-old wife Queen Consort Camilla, at London’s Westminster Abbey on May 6, summoned Sir John Eliot Gardiner to his Windsor home to ask him to lead the Monteverdi Choir at the ceremony.

Internationally acclaimed Sir John told The Times, “I got another call (from Charles) just before Christmas.” He went on recalling, “I was summoned to Windsor with Gwyneth (Wentink – the Dutch/ Hungarian harpist who is now the partner of three-time divorcee John.) It was just the three of us – Camilla wasn’t there. Charles poured us very large gins and tonics, we had supper and we went through the whole service.”

The 79-year-old conductor, who has been friends with Charles for years, added he “really cares” about “the arts and music.” He added Charles’ decision to have him oversee 20 minutes of music before his coronation starts came a few days after their boozy meeting.

“This time he said, ‘I want you and the Monteverdi Choir to do 20 minutes immediately prior to the service.’ So that’s what we are doing – 20 minutes of Bach and Bruckner,” he said. “Then we have to vacate the choir stalls quickly so the Westminster Abbey choir can get in for the service.”

Sir John said Charles, then Prince of Wales, asked him several years ago on a call, “John Eliot, what are we going to do at my coronation?” A familiar voice said over the phone, “What sort of music should we have?”

He added about the King’s character, “I find him very approachable and congenial. He sticks out as a member of the royal family who really cares about the arts and music… he was way ahead of his time on climate change, rainforests, sustainable farming, the need to engage with young people in inner cities.”

“I enjoy joshing with him,” the composer continued gushing. “He gets quite irascible at times – he’s almost got a persecution complex about some things, which isn’t surprising. But he’s also fun to be with.”

Charles has also asked for Greek Orthodox music to be played in tribute to his late father, Prince Philip who died aged 99 in 2021, which will be performed by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble. Six orchestral commissions, five choral commissions and one organ commission have been created by British composers whose styles include classical, sacred, film, television and musical theater.

There will also be new works by Sarah Class, Nigel Hess, Paul Mealor, Tarik O’Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Shirley J Thompson, Judith Weir, Roderick Williams and Debbie Wiseman. Gospel group The Ascension Choir will also perform as part of the ceremony, as well as the Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel.

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