A tune fit for a King: The composer tasked with a song for the coronation

The composition will be unveiled in little more than a month, Arts Editor Nina Nannar reports

We meet at one of her favourite spots, the banks of the River Severn in Gloucestershire.

Sarah Class’ love of the outdoors, of the natural world, informs her life both privately and professionally.

Raised on a nature reserve on the Isle of Wight, she has long been attuned to watching and understanding nature.

So when the accomplished musician began composing for projects about conservation and wildlife, it allowed her to combine two things very dear to her.

And that, she says aligns her with King Charles - the belief that music can help spread a conservation message. So she has answered his request that she compose a piece for his coronation in May.

The exact details of the piece remain under wraps but she told me that it will a song delivered by South African soprano Pretty Yende and that the melody came to her almost immediately after she’d been asked.

It will reflect shared concerns about climate change and protecting nature, she says, but it will be about hope, and overcoming fears about the future of our planet. It’s not the first time she and the King have worked together.

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Years after he visited her school, and with successes including writing music for the BBC’s acclaimed Africa series and working with the conservation charity World Land Trust, she wrote to the the Prince Charles about his upcoming sustainability project Terra Carta.

She reminded him of his visit to her school and said she’d love to get involved. To her surprise she received a hand written letter back asking her to compose a piece for the launch of his project, to be played at the Cop26 Climate change conference in Glasgow in 2021. He clearly approved of the piece she wrote, Rythm Of The Earth, following up with her invitation to write for the coronation. Her piece will be among 12 special commissions for the event, including a Coronation Anthem from Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber. She will begin rehearsals this week, then on May 6th her piece around the natural world will be unveiled to the whole world - and the composer and the King will meet again.