Solo soprano sings Queen’s beloved hymn ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ in intimate tribute

17 September 2022, 10:55

‘The Lord is My Shepherd’, sung by soprano Alexandra Stevenson

By Kyle Macdonald

Ahead of all the music, emotion, and ceremony of the Queen’s funeral – something simpler: two musicians, a historic Royal chapel, and a favourite hymn of Elizabeth II.

There are those moments when music speaks. Sometimes it might be a piece of piano music, a symphony, and at other times, it might be the ancient text to a much-loved hymn.

And as we remember Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, give thanks, and reflect, two musicians joined together to give us one of those moments.

English soprano Alexandra Stevenson, and organist and Master of the Music at The King’s Chapel of the Savoy, Philip Berg MVO, had previously performed in the chapel in February 2022 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne, and to mark her Platinum Jubilee year.

But on Friday 16 September of that same year they – very poignantly – gathered in the same chapel to make music at a different time.

The hymn they sang is a setting of Psalm 23: The Lord is My Shepherd. The ancient words explore themes of protection, inner strength, safety, and graceful guidance. It was sung at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten in November 1947. The Queen also listed the Psalm setting, most commonly sung to the hymn tune called Crimond, as among her favourite pieces of music.

These are words, it seems, that have resonated with Queen Elizabeth II over the years.

You can watch this special performance in the empty chapel above.

Read more: How music will play a role at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

Solo soprano sings at The King’s Chapel of the Savoy
Solo soprano sings at The King’s Chapel of the Savoy. Picture: Classic FM

The King’s Chapel of the Savoy is an atmospheric, intimate church in the heart of London, quietly nestled beside the famous Savoy Hotel. The chapel dates from 1490 and is a Royal Peculiar, which means it has a special connection to the reigning monarch.

If you’re in London and looking for a quiet place for reflection at this time – it’s a very beautiful chapel, with that special royal connection.

In the chapel, that was renamed after Charles III just a few days ago, Alexandra and Philip also performed our National Anthem, with those words that might feel slightly odd and unfamiliar to many: God Save The King.

Read more: What are the lyrics to ‘God Save the King’?

‘God Save the King’, sung by soprano Alexandra Stevenson

If the hymns are resonating with you just now, here’s another rather special moment. In April 2021, Alexandra paid tribute through music to the late Duke of Edinburgh, singing his favourite Royal Navy hymn ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’. You can watch it here sung in an empty Portsmouth Cathedral with organist David Price.