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All creatures great and small celebrated in the world premiere of Animal Requiem

25 January, 2019 — By Sebastian Taylor

People are invited to bring photos of their pets to the performance

The world premiere of Animal Requiem, celebrating, remembering and honouring all the animals we have loved and lost, is taking place at St James’s Piccadilly on Thursday (January 31).

The piece was composed by Rachel Fuller, the singer-songwriter who is married to Pete Townshend of The Who. Fuller was inspired to compose the work in response to the grief she felt after losing six dogs to old age over the space of five years. “I composed the Animal Requiem for all of us who have lost a much-loved pet – the pain we feel is equal to the love we felt for them,” she says. “With this music, I honour and remember all the animals I have loved and lost. All their lives have had an extraordin­ary impact on mine and I am forever grateful.”

Members of the audience are being invited to bring a photograph portraying a happy memory of their beloved pet. On entering St James’s, they can pin their photo to a large board, then light a candle in remembrance of their pet.


Composer Rachel Fuller (photo: Koos Fernhout) and Alfie Boe (photo: Raph_PH)

The requiem is being performed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, conducted by Robert Ziegler, and the Chamber Choir of London. Tenor Alfie Boe is singing.

Also being performed are Saint-Saëns’ piece Carnival of the Animals and Sir Paul McCartney’s 1968 solo Blackbird.

Rachel Fuller has replaced her lost six dogs by an Irish terrier, a mixed-breed rescue dog and a chihuahua – “and a puppy which we added to the pack last week. Four is a good number but, who knows if we don’t get any more,” she says.

• The world premiere of Animal Requiem is on January 31 at St James’s Piccadilly, 7.30pm, www.sjp.org.uk/monthly-diary.html

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