Hymn Story: Who Shall Separate us?

“Who Shall Separate Us?” is an eight-part a cappella choir composition. It was written by James MacMillian and commissioned for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II sometime around 2011-2012 when the song was written.

The commission is said to come as a surprise, but MacMillian is known as a “masterly composer of small-scale religious choral pieces”. MacMillian said he was “deeply honoured” by the commission.

The passage is based on the epistle to the Romans and the text taken from the end of Chapter 8.

It was first performed at Westminster Abbey for the Queen’s funeral on September 19, 2022, and conducted by James O’Donell.

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