The Gloria in Excelsis was written by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford for the coronation of HM King George V on 22 June 1911. It was an occasion of some note in the annals of British music, for Elgar’s Coronation March and Parry’s grand festival Te Deum were also heard for the first time that day. In addition, there was music by Thomas Tallis, Orlando Gibbons and Sir John Stainer, as well as by the Master of the King’s Music and organist of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, Sir Walter Parratt.
It was published the following year as part of Stanford’s Opus 128, the Festal Communion Service for voices and orchestra, which was also made available with the accompaniment arranged by the composer for organ. However, such was the popularity of the Gloria, a magnificent and wholly representative example of Stanford’s genius for church music, that it soon became popular as a separate piece, either with organ or orchestral accompaniment, and it was included in the orders of service for the coronations of HM King George VI on 12 May 1937 and HM Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953.