Had a moment of confusion today whe I turned on Radio 4 at 09.30 expecting a run-downof the day’s papers and heard The Archers instead (imagine my disappointment – I’m not much of an Ambridge aficianado). Was my clock wrong? Then I twigged that the programme had been brought forward in order to accommodate the Service of Remembrance.
During the half-hour run-up, presenter Nicholas Witchell interviewed Senior Musical Director of the Guards’ Division Lieutenant Colonel Graham Jones, who spoke of the importance of music in the ceremony: opining that ‘the music that does create the emotion of that moment in time’ and that ‘The Cenotaph was ‘the last service that he wanted to conduct’ after a military career spanning four decades.
The massed bands of the footguards ran through a solemn and reflective selection of songs, including ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Nimrod’ and ‘The Skye Boat Song’ in a service virtually unchanged since 1929.
There’s a solace to be found in these timeless, traditional melodies and it was a powerful reminder of the special part music – and its counterpoint, silence – plays in bringing order to our emotions and connecting us to our place in history.
If you missed it, listen here (for seven days)