William Mathias composed his anthem “Let the people praise Thee, O God” for the wedding of The Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981.William Mathias CBE (1934-1992)
He was a child prodigy who began composing at the age of five and went on to large scale works such as opera and symphonies in addition to Anglican choral works.
Born in Wales, Mathias attended Aberystwyth University, where he was a member of the Elizabethan Madrigal Singers (to be followed by Wherwell Singers’ conductor, Dale Webb). Mathias studied at the Royal Academy of Music and went on to head the music department at the University of Wales, Bangor.
Hyperion Records describe Mathias’s anthem thus:
“an ebullient anthem composed as the Principality’s main musical contribution to the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1981. Even from student days, the young Mathias betrayed an unnervingly natural and instinctive rhythmic fluency and verve which one might justifiably compare to Britten’s. This exciting royal offering also illustrates to perfection the vital, often independent organ parts that uplift many of Mathias’s sacred and secular choral compositions. The tender passage for unbroken voices (with rocking accompaniment) midway through Let the people praise thee, O God exemplifies both Mathias’s experience and his melodic gift for fashioning sustained passages from almost plainsong-like bare fragments; the simple beauty of his solo writing evident in numerous works (the Harp Concerto, for instance, or the Passacaglia of the Organ Concerto) emerges clearly here also”.