Malcolm Arnold's one act ballet score Homage To The Queen was commissioned in 1953 by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to celebrate the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The ballet was conceived and choreographed by Frederick Ashton, with designs by Oliver Messel, and was danced by the full company of the Sadler's Wells Ballet, with an illustrious cast that comprised Nadia Nerina as Queen of the Earth, Violetta Elvin as Queen of the Waters, Beryl Grey as Queen of Fire and Margot Fonteyn as Queen of the Air. The conductor of the ROH orchestra was Robert Irving. Homage to the Queen was first performed on the night of the coronation, 2June 1953.
One of the towering musical figures of the 20th century, Sir Malcolm Arnold has a remarkable catalogue of major concert works to his credit, including nine symphonies, seven ballets, two operas, one musical, over twenty concertos, two string quartets, and music for brass band and wind band. He has also written over 132 film scores and among these are some of the finest works ever composed for the medium: Bridge On The River Kwai, Inn Of The Sixth Happiness, Hobson's Choice, Whistle Down The Wind and David Copperfield.