Music marks the beginning of Remembrance in London

The musicians of the Household Division started Remembrance with music by giving the first public performance of an Army officer’s orchestral tribute to all killed in war.

The Bands of the Household Division and the Guards’ Museum, together with Commonwealth Music, played ‘Cenotaph Requiem’. The original composition by Lieutenant Colonel Simon Haw MBE is intended as a Universal Act of Remembrance and dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen.

"Cenotaph Requiem is intended as an epitaph to all who served in the First World War. But the enduring nature of warfare is constant, therefore in many ways, it should be regarded as a work for all time" Lt Col Haw MBE, Commanding Officer of The Household Division Bands

For the sold-out performance at The Guards’ Chapel in London, the musicians performed an emotive set of orchestral music interspersed with epitaphs describing pivotal battles from World War One and representing the travails of all three services. Each orchestral piece was written and performed in remembrance of those military forces from Great Britain, the Commonwealth and our allies who have sacrificed so much in the defence of democracy and human rights. 

The music, conducted by Professor David Jasper, was performed by the orchestra of the Household Division; the Choir of Christ's College, Cambridge; Commonwealth Scholars' Choir and Commonwealth Children’s Choir. Of particular note was a poem composed and read by Yeoman Warder Darren Hardy, ‘Tyne Cot Passchendale’, which was read with orchestral accompaniment and provided a poignant reminder of those who were lost in the Battle of Passchendale in 1917.

In early 2019, Cenotaph Requiem was recorded by the musicians of the Household Division and the Commonwealth Scholars’ Choir and Commonwealth Children’s, but could not be performed to a live audience due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The musicians each serve in one of the seven Household Division bands: Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards and Welsh Guards Bands, The Household Cavalry Band and the Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra.