Cello Concerto in E minor Opus 85 (4) Edward Elgar Download 'Cello Concerto in E minor Opus 85 (4)' on iTunes
Out of the tragedy of the September 11th terrorist attacks has come some incredible music in tribute. We take a look at some of the very best pieces written by composers from America and beyond, whether they were there when the attacks happened or were simply inspired by the events themselves.
Minimalist Steve Reich's bold response to the 9/11 attacks is a daring synthesis of recorded voice and string quartet. Using radio recordings from air traffic controllers working during the attacks themselves as a counterpoint to the driving strings across three tense movements, the effect is not in any way sentimental, but terrifying.
Classic FM's composer in residence saw the attacks first-hand while filming in New York, but it took him several years to be able to turn the experience into a musical tribute. Based on a poem by Wendy Cope, Goodall describes the work as a piece about how "all of us that survived, wherever we were, felt spared, and needed to reaffirm the love we shared with those close to us." Photo: Peter Cobbin
Written to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Corigliano's work is a reflective, moving piece. New York Philharmonic conductor Alan Gilbert described the work as "finding hope in the midst of tragedy… an important work."
Eric Ewazen was teaching a music class at the Juilliard School when the 9/11 attacks happened. In his programme note for the piece, he described the inspiration for the piece: "A Hymn for the Lost and the Living portrays those painful days following September 11th, days of supreme sadness."
Written for orchestra, chorus, children's choir and pre-recorded tape, Adams' composition was originally commissioned by the New York Philharmonic soon after the attacks themselves. Such was its impact, the piece won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for music.
Interestingly, composer Joan Tower's piece began life as a tribute to a friend, but it soon spiralled into something larger after the 9/11 attacks occurred. Written for string quartet, it's an atmospheric work that deals as much with the harshness of the losses as it does with the sorrow.
Another composer that was near the World Trade Centre as the attacks happened, Michael Gordon took his inspiration from the recorded comments of children in his son's school class. He eventually took the samples, using the phrase "Two evil planes broke in little pieces and fire came", and turned them into a piece for the legendary Kronos Quartet (pictured).
Rorem himself has described Aftermath as the piece he's most proud of. The Pulitzer-winning composer originally received the commission for the piece before the attacks took place, but he felt that it would be impossible to not reference them in some way. He told NPR: "Since I'm a Quaker and a pacifist, I wanted to write something that would reflect my sentiments in those directions. So I wrote Aftermath, which is all on poems that are anti-war or the results of war, or in a more distant way a remorse for any death."
Composer Robert Moran was originally worried about writing a Requiem for a children's choir, particularly when the children singing it were unlikely to have a connection to the 9/11 attacks themselves. However, in writing the Trinity Requiem, Moran decided to use the theme of loss in general, taking inspiration from war zones from across history, to inform his piece, which was commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
With text written by poet Quincy Troupe and playwright Allan Havis, this oratorio by Anthony Davis takes in the fictionalised testimonies of pilots, the terrorists and the victims. It's a bold, engaging work, and utilises electronics in its instrumentation too.