Today in the US we commemorate those who have died while serving in the armed forces.
There is an abundance of music written for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Charles Ives’s Decoration Day (what Memorial Day was called at an earlier time in America) incorporates Taps into his depiction of Memorial Day proceedings in New England. Here is a performance of Decoration Day.
Maurice Ravel wrote Le Tombeau de Couperin, a suite for solo piano in six movements. Each movement is dedicated to a friend who lost his life in World War I. A performance of Le Tombeau de Couperin can be found here.
Frank Bridge’s intense Piano Sonata was written in memory of a friend who was killed in World War I. You can hear it here.
Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem was first performed at the consecration of the newly rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, which had been destroyed during World War II. The poignancy of the piece is heightened by the use of the poetry of Wilfred Owen, who was killed in action one week before the end of World War I. A performance can be found here. A short documentary on War Requiem from the Royal Opera House can be found here. A recording of a moving performance at Coventry Cathedral is available on DVD.
Sadly, I’m sure there are other notable works that I’ve omitted with a similar origin. It is utterly human and noble to try to create beauty from loss.
I salute the bravery of those who serve.
I honor the memory of those we have lost.
Wounded Warriors Family Support http://www.wwfs.org/wounded-warriors-family-support/information-main/about-us
Fisher House Foundation https://www.fisherhouse.org/about/
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) http://www.taps.org/about/
Helmet and Rifle, World War I. Courtesy of Getty Images Hulton Collection. http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/battlefield-grave-high-res-stock-photography/HH8040-001
Helmet and Rifle, 2006, Iraq. 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit website http://www.22ndmeu.marines.mil/News/ArticleView/tabid/196/Article/510146/22nd-meu-blt-12-marines-mourn-the-loss-of-three-warriors.aspx