Because music is my first language, it stands to reason that for me, the memory of 9/11 should be inextricably caught up with the sound of music. I attended and wrote about many memorial concerts in the immediate wake of the tragedy, and I listened ceaselessly to all sorts of music throughout that terrible time, searching for a measure of comprehension and consolation and—once in a while—finding it.
In honor of that grave and reverend day, here are four pieces of variously solemn music that I love deeply:
• From Aaron Copland’s Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson, “Sleep is supposed to be,” performed by Barbara Bonney and André Previn:
• The Third Courtly Dance from Benjamin Britten’s Gloriana, performed by Steuart Bedford and the London Symphony:
• The “Dead March” from Handel’s Saul, performed by Ivor Bolton and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment:• Hugo Wolf’s Anakreons Grab, performed by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore. A translation of Goethe’s German text is here: