The Platinum Record. Dr. Olga Thomas, Anton Van Der Mere, Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills with others compose a beautiful orchestral piece for Her Majesty, The Queen on her birthday, celebrated today. It is a testament to her rule, her experience and the gracious love her subjects have for her. The piece is an ethereal composition. Using a full orchestra, the composers energize and create moments of flux.
A string section, choir and flutes take the cake for the first track, The Four British Nations. Embedded in these tracks is a bit of history from the composers and parts of songs that are instantly recognizable. Mastered with perfection, the swells and lows incite goosebumps on the listeners body. This element is really what shines.
Art for a precious moment
This 2 track record was specially made for the Queen. What was the process behind it?
Dr. Olga Thomas: The Platinum Record is a Jubilee Anthem Single commissioned by the British Monarchists Society to celebrate the Queen’s forthcoming Platinum Jubilee. The Society’s Founder Thomas who is a visionary of the Project as well as the lyricist invited me to take part in that historical project. I have been honoured to compose many private musical gifts for the Royal Household but this one is really special as it is for the Platinum Jubilee. Giving everything what is going on in the world and off the back of the pandemic etc., the song feels needed now more than ever, to unite and celebrate the life work and dedication of the Queen.
Anton Van Der Mere: Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills (Founder of the British Monarchist Society and visionary of the project) approached me early in January 2021 with the request for my involvement in this monumental project, which I grabbed with open arms. We started brainstorming concept and creative imagery of what we thought an “Anthem” of this nature would need to look like, not only to summaries the remarkable life of such an amazing human being such as the Queen, but also to have full representation of all over whom she reigns.
As composer I then started working on the melody and chord structure as foundation and after several hours of zoom calls and chats with Thomas, I then went and drafted the lyrical phrases from our concept notes to match the melody, chords and rhythms I created. After a a few minor edits, we were both happy that what was written, worked musically and poetically and then my Co-Producer Ettienne Lane and & started on the orchestration.
Composition and calibration
Thomas Mace-Archer–Mills: When I came up with the idea of creating a musical celebration for Her Majesty, it was difficult to know where to start. I wanted to emphasize the Queen’s story, not just as a woman, as a Head of State, but designer and head of the Commonwealth of Nations – her life’s work. So where do we start? At the beginning of course! We needed to accentuate the four nations within the United Kingdom, but also the 54 additional nations which make up the Commonwealth, as well as the 15 countries of which she is Queen and Head of State.
To solve this, we created two tracks to form one anthem: the introduction to the world-showcase, The Four British Nations, orchestrated by Dr Olga Thomas with lyrics by myself, and We Thank You From Our Hearts, which was composed by Anton Van Der Mere with lyrics by me and Anton together. Lesley Garrett CBE, the UK’s most recognized soprano, and Rodney Earl Clark, West End star, together with the London Community Gospel Choir make these pieces come to life with a wonderful eclectic sound encompassing not only the united Kingdom, but the nations beyond.
The second track is We Thank You From Our Hearts. It has an introduction in an indigenous language, and the praise is for the one with the silver crown. A long reign is celebrated by these artists, selecting from the Queens several values the ones they admire, embellishing them with the power of the chorus. The instruments aid the powerful vocals, which is a demanding baritone that bends octaves with ease. The easing into the vocals and other instruments is fluidic, with no errors in time and a polished ending. This is a world music piece like no other, for a ruler like no other.
Imbibing the sound of nations
For the world music song, how did you choose what instruments could represent the emotions the best?
Anton Van Der Mere: When we structured the song, we knew that we wanted to not only showcase the Queens life journey through the lyrics, but also incorporate a full circumnavigation of the Commonwealth, which started us off in Africa. Being South African born, and singing African traditional music since I was a child, I understood the African musical structure of “call and answer” as well as chanting and counter melody, building to a climatic chorus, very well. This is usually done by harmony vocals as well as simple percussion. To incorporate the true Crossover Classical experience in the crescendo of the music, we added Western Orchestral elements with string and brass instruments.
This similar formula was then repeated in the both the Indian and Australasian/ Caribbean segments, but replacing one areas traditional instruments and chants for the other. Certain instruments were of course a given, like the Indian sitar, the Australian Digeridoo and the steel drums from the Caribbean.
For the Bridge segment we wanted to decrescendo before the great finale, so we only brought in a solo bagpipe from Scotland accompanied by a snare drum and the Irish flute that sets the tone for this more tranquil segment where the lyrics is based on the oath the young Princess Elizabeth made on her 21st birthday from Cape Town, during which she promise to serve us all till the end of her days.
Complexities in recording and creating
Tell me about the process of recording this album. Was it complex due to the orchestra?
Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills: This was a difficult process for me, as was present for rehearsals in Central London, but was unable to attend the main recordings due to me having to travel to America for deeply personal reasons. I was left thousands of miles away for the central recording weekend, which saw me wake at 2:30am to be ready to be patched into the studio for 8 and 9 am UK time, to which America is five hours behind.
Unable to truly hear the quality being recorded, the full vision of the orchestra and choir and singers, I was rendered virtually blind to the process with only my ears to guise me through the making of my creation. I was able to participate and speak with our artists and Anton during the recordings, as well as give input, my thoughts, and correct certain tings which I did not like or feel was representative of the vision I had, which Anton, Olga, and all of our artists have pulled off in a superiors fashion.
For her ears only, and for all
What is the plan on showing this to Her Majesty? Do you think it’s possible she might get to hear it?
Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills: We are holding out to be included by the BBC during the central Jubilee weekend’s Party at The Palace on 4 June. Considering this is the national broadcaster of the United Kingdom, hosting the musical celebration for Her Majesty, and the anthem is a celebration of her that includes national treasure Lesley Garrett CBE and international award winning artists such as the London Community Gospel Choir and Rodney Earl Clarke topping the bill.
Along with private Royal composer to Her Majesty with several number on top chart hits to her name, Olga Thomas, it only makes sense to include this anthem as a truly representative work that fully captures what Her Majesty has worked so hard to achieve over the past 70 years.
The second track, We Thank You From Our Hearts has a range of instruments, a steel drum from the Caribbean, Didgeridoo from Australia, Swahili, Hindi and Maori chants to encapsulate the change her reign has brought in. For the angelic vocals, the highly trained team of The London Community Gospel Choir performed, led by Lesley Garrett CBE and baritone extraordinaire Rodney Earl Clarke. It is truly music for the centuries.
An extensive in depth look at the compositions, from the artists and composers themselves. It truly reflects the nature and reign of a great monarch and the change she has brought for a nation.
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Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.