Music for the Queen's funeral - the pieces and hymns played today at Westminster Abbey

The musicians of Westminster Abbey will be performing the music today for the Queen's state funeral.

Guests arrive for the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey. Photo: Frank Augstein/PA Wire
Guests arrive for the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey. Photo: Frank Augstein/PA Wire

Westminster Abbey’s Organist and Master of the Choristers, James O’Donnell, will direct the Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, while the Abbey’s Sub-Organist, Peter Holder, and Assistant Organist, Matthew Jorysz, will play the organ before and during the service.

Three hymns, two anthems and newly commissioned pieces will be among the pieces of music played at the service, while 11 pieces are being played on the Abbey's organ before the service.

As well as the Abbey's musicians, the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry, the Fanfare Team of the Household Division Bands and the Queen’s Piper, Warrant Officer Class 1 (Pipe Major) Paul Burns, will also play.

The Queen's Piper has the role of performing Sleep, dearie, sleep as the Queen's coffin is led out of the Abbey at the end of the service.

Here's the music people can expect to hear during today's service at Westminster Abbey.

Before the service

In the build-up to the service there will be several pieces of music played on the organ at Westminster Abbey.

Matthew Jorysz, assistant organist, will play:

Fantasia of four parts by Orlando Gibbons

Romanza (Symphony no 5 in D) by Ralph Vaughan Williams (arranged by Robert Quinney)

Reliqui domum meum by Peter Maxwell Davies

Meditation on ‘Brother James’s Air’ by Harold Darke

Prelude on ‘Ecce jam noctis’ Op 157 no 3 by Healey Willan

Psalm Prelude Set 1 no 2 by Herbert Howells

In the Country Op 194 no 2 by Charles Villiers Stanford

Fantasy on ‘O Paradise’ by Malcolm Williamson

Elegy Op 58 by Edward Elgar (arranged by Matthew Jorysz (born 1992)

The sub-organist will then play:

Andante espressivo (Sonata in G Op 28) by Edward Elgar

Sospiri Op 70 by Edward Elgar, arranged by Peter Holder

During the service

As the coffin enters the Abbey the Choir of Westminster Abbey sings The Sentences.

I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. John 11: 25–26

I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. Job 19: 25–27

We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. 1 Timothy 6: 7; Job 1: 21

The Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Choir of the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, then sing:

Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears unto our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee. Amen. The Book of Common Prayer 1549

I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, From henceforth blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: even so saith the Spirit; for they rest from their labours. Amen. Revelation 14: 13

Hymns during the service:

The day though gavest Lord is ended

The Lord's my shepherd I'll not want

Love divine all loves excelling

At the end of the service:

The Last Post


The National Anthem

Sleep, dearie, sleep - played by The Queen's Piper, Warrant Officer Class 1 (Pipe Major) Paul Burns

As the coffin and procession leave the Abbey, the sub-organist will play Fantasia in C minor by Johann Sebastian Bach

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