Bath Abbey’s Director of Music, Huw Williams, has composed a new piece of music for a special Bath & North East Somerset event to remember all those who have lost their lives since the start of the Covid pandemic in the UK.
The new anthem - ‘Lord, you have been our dwelling place’ - is set to words from Psalm 90 – a prayer of Moses, which has brought comfort to those grieving loved ones throughout the centuries. It will be heard for the first time at the Community Remembering Together Service online on Wednesday 24 March at 7pm, when it will be performed by Bath Abbey’s Choir of Lay-clerks, joined by professional sopranos.
Huw Williams, Director of Music at Bath Abbey, is a highly regarded conductor, organist and composer. While serving as Her Majesty The Queen’s Director of Music, Huw conducted the music for Prince George’s Christening, HM The Queen’s Christmas message in 2015, the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph, and has composed music that has been sung at St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.
Williams explains how he came to write this new anthem for the Remembering Together Service: “As the famous composer John Rutter says, it always starts with a phone call! While the service was still in its planning stages, I got a phone call inviting me to write a memorial piece for it, so have been working on it for some weeks now. It’s always an honour to be asked to write music, however this is especially momentous as well as poignant, as it’s commemorating something that has affected us all and changed our lives forever.
“We chose the words from Psalm 90: ‘Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations’. The music itself is rather dark and mysterious; there’s a sense of anguish and grieving which is very much part of the music, with angular harmonies and wistful, short solos. I hope people enjoy it and it brings a sense of comfort and hope for a more optimistic year ahead of us. It is very much written as a tribute to those who have lost loved ones through this pandemic and a thank you to the care workers in the NHS and elsewhere who have guided us through this anxious 12 months.”
All are welcome to join in the Community Remembering Together Service which has been organised jointly by the Royal United Hospital Bath, Dorothy House Hospice Care, 3SG and Bath & North East Somerset care home, and will be held online via Bath Abbey’s Youtube channel. It will be a time of remembrance for people in the region to join together to grieve their losses, pay tribute to those who have had their lives significantly changed by Covid and to give thanks to all who have cared for them. There will be prayers, readings, poetry and music offered from different faith traditions as well as a way for people to join in at home with the lighting of candles as a sign of hope and renewal.
The Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton, said: “This time last year we’d only just heard of Covid-19. Now, a year on, it’s totally turned our lives upside down, taking away so many things we’d previously taken for granted, but above all, taking away many people who are dear to us and our communities. It’s been made so much more difficult by us not being able to have proper funeral services. So many people have not been able to gather together with family and friends to say goodbye as they would have wished. Our hope is that the Remembering Together Service will provide some of that solace and sharing in loss that is part of bereavement.”