Yesterday marked the opening of the Field of Remembrance 2017 at Westminster Abbey by HRH Prince Henry of Wales. The Field is organised by the Royal British Legion and pays tribute to all the brave Service men and women who have served in our Armed Forces since the First World War. The first Field of Remembrance was first set up in the grounds of Westminster Abbey in 1928 and there are now further fields in Cardiff, Lydiard Park (near Wootton Bassett), Belfast, Gateshead, Edinburgh, and the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
In honour of this occasion we have chosen Music for Remembrance as our CD of the Month. The CD was released in 2014 and features the Westminster Abbey Choir with James O’Donnell conducting. The album includes a programme of memorial music composed in England and France in the shadow of the two world wars. The central piece of music on the CD is Duruflé’s Requiem which is enhanced by an accompanying chamber orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, and two exceptional soloists, Christine Rice and Roderick Williams. The highlight of this piece is certainly Pie Jesu which feels very poignant with its soaring melodies.
The other music featured on the CD demonstrates Westminster Abbey’s special connection to the nation’s remembrance of the fallen. The peace that surpasseth understanding was composed by John Tavener for the service held at Westminster Abbey in 2009 to commemorate the Passing of the World War One Generation. There are further connections to the Abbey with the choice of the other composers included in this collection of music; both Ralph Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells had their ashes buried within Westminster Abbey, where their music had played such an important role.
To find out more about the opening of the Field of Remembrance you can visit the Westminster Abbey website. If you would like to purchase Music for Remembrance or any other CD of the Westminster Abbey Choir you can do so either online or in store.