Beating Retreat CD 2008
Recorded in 2007
The ceremony of Beating Retreat performed by Trumpeters, Massed bands, Pipes and Drums, and Corps of Drums of the Household Division.
The beating or sounding of Retreat has its origins in the sixteenth century when it was possible the same ceremony as Tattoo, ‘Ye Retrete to beat att 9 att night and take it from Ye Garde’.
A book of 1598 says ‘ Ye Drumme Major will advertise (By beate of Drum) those required for watch’.
In the 17th Century the Drummers are ‘To beate the Retreat through the large street and to be answered by all drummers of Ye Gardes.
In 1727 ‘half an hour before the setting of the sun, the Drummers and Port – Guards are to go upon the ramparts and beat a Retreat to give notice to those without, that the gates are to be shut.
The Drummers will not take more than a quarter of an hour to beat retreat’.
The modern method of beating retreat is not unlike the 18th century procedure.
Nowadays the ceremony, usually at sunset, denotes the end of the working day and heralds the mounting of the Guard.