Two new works to be heard in Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

Two new works to be heard in Queen Elizabeth’s funeral


norman lebrecht

September 19, 2022

The Master of the Queen’s Musick Judith Weir and the leading Scottish composer James MacMillan have written new works for today’s great occasion.

Judith Weir says: ‘“For this funeral service, Westminster Abbey requested that I set to music the first seven verses of Psalm 42, “Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks: so longeth my soul after thee, O God”. The words and music speak at first of the soul’s great sadness and thirst for God’s reassurance;
but as the psalm progresses, the mood becomes calmer and more resolved, culminating in
consolation, with the words “Put thy trust in God”. The Queen’s strong faith in, and support of, Anglican worship was an inspiration for me when setting this psalm to music.”’

James MacMillan, a devout Roman Catholic, tells us: ‘I am honoured that my anthem “Who shall separate us” commissioned for this event will be sung at the Commendation.’
WHO shall separate us from the love of Christ? Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Alleluia! Amen.
Romans 8: 35a, 38b/em>


  • Eduardo says:

    There is great power in these words and I hope that people find solace in their setting to music today.
    There is still beauty in the world and music is one of its channels.

  • Una says:

    No one will be disappointed with these two ecumenical composers and their works.

  • Carl says:

    I wonder what the commissioning fee is for pieces like these? I hope the royals are paying them handsomely.

    I’m personally waiting for an arrangement of the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen.”

  • msc says:

    I am pleased that MacMillan, a Catholic Scot, avoided taking any cheap nationalist or sectarian shots.

  • Stephen Maddock says:

    And very fine works they were too – just right for the occasion.

  • Stephen Lipton says:

    Two very fine works for this occasion, respectful and fitting.

  • Derek H says:

    Both very appropriate and fine works. The whole service was excellent.

  • Doc Martin says:

    I half expected that they would sing a choral arrangement of Neil Hannon’s My Lovely Horse (without Sax obligato).
    Here is the evergreen original version just to remind you.

  • Rob Keeley says:

    And a very fine, thrilling piece Sir Jimmy has written. perfect for the occasion. Thank you!

  • Doc Martin says:

    They should have performed Purcell’s funeral sentences for Queen Mary with the march and canzona for four flat trumpets (without drums). Far more impressive.

    Man that is born of woman

    In the midst of life we are in death

    Thou knowest Lord, the secrets of our hearts

  • MacroV says:

    I wonder how long ago they wrote the works. This funeral was in planning for years, if not decades. And was something the likes of which we shall not see again.