Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral: All the music played during the service

19 September 2022, 13:55

All the music played at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II
All the music played at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Picture: Getty

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

As the nation says a final farewell to Her Majesty, here’s a full programme of all the music that featured during her funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday 19 September 2022.

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The service for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was led by the Dean of Westminster, with music sung by the choristers of The Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal.

Westminster Abbey’s Organist and Master of the Choristers, James O’Donnell, directd the choirs and the Abbey’s Sub-Organist, Peter Holder, and Assistant Organist, Matthew Jorysz played the organ during the service.

The service featured three hymns, two anthems, and two new works composed for the ceremony by Scottish composer Sir James MacMillan, and Master of the King’s Music, Judith Weir.

Other musicians featured include the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry, led by Trumpet Major Julian Sandford, the Fanfare Team of the Household Division Bands, conducted by Lieutenant Colonel David Barringer MBE, Commanding Officer, Household Division Bands, and the Queen’s Piper, Warrant Officer Class 1 (Pipe Major) Paul Burns, who played out the service.

The Queen’s coffin is now being taken to Windsor Castle for a televised committal service – here’s all the music you will hear at St George’s Chapel.

Read more: The Queen’s funeral: how music will play a role at the Westminster Abbey service

What music was played on the organ at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral?

Before the ceremony began, the Assistant Organist of Westminster Abbey, Matthew Jorysz, played the following music.

  • Fantasia of four parts – Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625) Organist of Westminster Abbey 1623–25
  • Romanza (Symphony No.5 in D) — Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958) arranged by Robert Quinney (b 1976)
  • Reliqui domum meum – Peter Maxwell Davies (1934–2016)
  • Meditation on ‘Brother James’s Air’ – Harold Darke (1888–1976)
  • Prelude on ‘Ecce jam noctis’ Op.157 No.3 – Healey Willan (1880–1968)
  • Psalm Prelude Set 1 No.2 – Herbert Howells (1892–1983)
  • In the Country Op.194 No.2 – Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924)
  • Fantasy on ‘O Paradise’ – Malcolm Williamson (1931–2003)
  • Elegy Op.58 – Edward Elgar (1857–1934) arranged by Matthew Jorysz (b 1992)

The Westminster Abbey Sub-Organist, Peter Holder, then played the following works by Edward Elgar before the Procession of Religious Representatives moved to their places in the Nave and the Sacrarium for the funeral.

  • Andante espressivo (Sonata in G Op.28)
  • Sospiri Op.70

At the end of the service, Holder performed Fantasia in C minor BWV 562 by Johann Sebastian Bach as the coffin and procession left the Abbey.

Read more: The music for The Queen’s committal service at St George’s Chapel

What did the choir sing as the Procession of the Coffin entered?

As the Procession of the Coffin moved through the Abbey, The Choir of Westminster Abbey sang The Funeral Sentences.

  • I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord – John 11: 25–26
  • I know that my Redeemer liveth – Job 19: 25–27
  • We brought nothing into this world – William Croft, 1 Timothy 6: 7; Job 1: 21
  • Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts – Henry Purcell, The Book of Common Prayer (1549)
  • I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me – William Croft, Revelation 14: 13

What hymns were sung at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral?

The congregation were invited to sing three hymns during the funeral ceremony at various times during the service. These hymns were

  • The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended
  • The Lord’s my Shepherd
  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

The first hymn, ‘The day Thou gavest Lord is ended’, was sung after The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle MBE, Dean of Westminster, gave the bidding. This hymn was notably performed as part of the celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, in 1897.

The second hymn, ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’, was one of Her Majesty’s favourite pieces of music, having featured in a list of the late Queen’s top 10 pieces of music revealed in 2016. This hymn was sung after the second reading, read by the Right Honourable Elizabeth Truss MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling’, was sung after The Lord’s Prayer. The hymn was written by prolific hymn writer, Charles Wesley, who wrote over 6,500 hymns including Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

Read more: ‘Love Divine, all Loves Excelling’ – lyrics to Charles Wesley’s beloved hymn

What choral music was performed at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral?

Two new pieces of music were specially composed for the ceremony by notable living British composers.

The first, ‘Like as the Hart’, is an unaccompanied musical setting of Psalm 42 from the Book of Common Prayer by British composer, and Master of the King’s Music, Judith Weir CBE.

The composer explained ahead of the ceremony that Her Majesty’s “strong faith in, and support of, Anglican worship was an inspiration” when setting the psalm to music.

Weir has written new music for numerous national and royal occasions, including most recently, for the Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral. She says that her music was always graciously, and often personally, acknowledged by the late Queen.

Speaking to Moira Stuart for the third series of Moira Stuart Meets... on Classic FM the evening before Her Majesty’s funeral, Weir told Stuart that the ceremony will be, “a beautifully performed occasion... even as a musical experience”.

Read more: Who is the current Master of the King’s Music, and what does the title mean?

The second specially composed piece is the service’s Anthem, a setting of a text from the New Testament’s Epistle to the Romans by Scottish composer, Sir James MacMillan.

The choir also performed an anthem by Hubert Parry, ‘My soul, there is a country’, which is one of six motets which make up the composer’s Songs of Farewell. Parry is a favourite of King Charles III, and in 2021, the then-Prince of Wales presented a film on Parry’s life titled, The Prince and the Composer.

A setting of Psalm 34 by Ralph Vaughan Williams, ‘O Taste and see how gracious the Lord is’, which was composed for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, was sung following the prayers.

What instrumental music was performed at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral?

The Last Post was sounded by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry from the steps of the Lady Chapel, led by Trumpet Major Julian Sandford.

A two-minute silence, heard across the United Kingdom, followed, concluding with a sounding of The Reville by the State Trumpeters.

Following this, the congregation sang the National Anthem, ‘God Save The King’. The Sovereign’s Piper of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Warrant Officer Class 1 (Pipe Major) Paul Burns, then played the traditional Lament, ‘Sleep, dearie, sleep’.

What music will be played at the committal service for Queen Elizabeth II?

The committal service for Her Majesty will take place at 4pm at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

The service will be sung by the Choir of St George’s Chapel, conducted by James Vivian, Director of Music. The organ will be played by Luke Bond, Assistant Director of Music.

Prior to the start of the ceremony, Bond will play a selection of pieces for the organ including works by Dame Ethel Smyth and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Two hymns will be sung during the service; the first, ‘All My Hope on God is Founded’, will follow the bidding in the service, and the second, ‘Christ is made the sure foundation’, with music by English composer, Henry Purcell.

The Queen’s Piper, Pipe Major James M. Banks, will again play a lament before the end of the service, which will be followed by a rendition of the British National Anthem, ‘God Save the King’. The ceremony will conclude with the same voluntary as the earlier funeral, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C minor BWV 562.