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A selection of uplifting and reflective music to mark Remembrance Day. Much of the music is written by composers who served in the war, or composed during war time.
As the nation pauses to reflect on the sacrifices made by brave servicemen and women, click through this gallery for the best music for remembrance, from Elgar's 'Nimrod' to Britten's 'War Requiem'. Pictured are visitors viewing the installation by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper at the Tower of London. 888,246 ceramic poppies represent each of the Commonwealth servicemen and women killed in the First World War. Photo: Getty.
Quintessentially British, 'Nimrod' from the Enigma Variations is the work that sealed Elgar's fame. Its profound beauty and reflective nature make it a favourite among those seeking a moment of calm – and it's all in the fluctuating dynamics, unresolved tension and monumental timpani rolls.
The cry of the solo bugle is beautifully mournful, and has come to be played at services throughout the country on Remembrance Sunday. Respectful and regal, the march-like rhythms gradually die away until the music comes to rest on a long held note.
A beautiful piece of pastoral music conjuring idyllic scenes of rolling countryside, Butterworth composed the piece in 1913 and it was first performed in the following year. The composer died two years later during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, at the age of just 31.
Britten's stunning War Requiem presents a musical setting of poetry by war poet Wilfred Owen alongside traditional Latin Requiem mass texts. It was commissioned to be performed in Coventry Cathedral, marking its consecration after the original building was destroyed in 1940.
One of the most mournful cello melodies in all of the classical canon, Fauré's Elegy captures an impressive range of emotions. From gut-wrenching anger to heartfelt sorrow, fleeting memories of happiness and mournful cries, the beautiful music communicates directly from the soul.
A stately selection of music, with a great feeling of majesty attached to it. Walton composed his 'Pieces' during the Second World War, as he was exempt from British military service during the Second World War so he could write the music for propaganda films.
Perhaps one of Finzi's finest compositions, this pacifist masterpiece is all too rarely performed. The beautiful music, scored for tenor and small orchestra, was composed over a span of about 20 years from the 1920s to 1944, as memories and realities from both world wars were ripe.
Many composers throughout history have written Requiems, and they are some of the most beautiful and moving pieces ever written. Duruflé's 'In Paradisum' is one of the most poignant and in the composer's hands the words – describing the soul finally coming to rest in Heaven with God, are brought to life in an angelic outpouring of praise.
Vaughan Williams chose to set words by Walt Whitman alongside a political speech and text from the Bible for his famous 'Dona nobis pacem'. The phrase 'Dona nobis pacem' means 'grant us peace' and it appears throughout the work, which was written in 1936 as a plea for peace in the face of the threat of impending war. Photo: Getty
This piece was originally written as a light-hearted partner work to Elgar's Salut d'Amour. But the composer soon realised the power of the work and decided on a more suitable title – Sospiri, meaning 'Sighs'. It was written shortly before the start of the First World War and was first performed in August 1914. was worthy of a more intense title.
The composer of this work has a direct link to some of the worst conflicts of the First World War – the Australian and British composer Frederick Septimus Kelly wrote his Elegy for Strings at Gallipoli in 1915 in memory of his friend, the poet Rupert Brooke. Kelly was killed in action during the First World War in November 1916.
Herbert Howells did not serve in the First World War because he was diagnosed with Graves' disease in 1915. He was given three months to live, but survived until 1983. His moving Requiem was published in 1980, almost 50 years after it was first composed.
The story of Ivor Gurney is one of the saddest in classical music: Gurney enlisted as a soldier in the Gloucestershire Regiment in 1915, but suffered a breakdown in March 1918, apparently as a result of shell shock. He wrote his War Elegy in 1920, but was declared insane in 1922 and spent the last 15 years of his life in mental hospitals.
Elgar's 'Spirit of England' sets a text by Laurence Binyon. The composer said of his 1915 work: "My portion of this work I dedicate to the memory of our glorious men, with a special thought for the Worcesters," said Elgar. Photo: Getty
Patrick Hawes composed this choral symphony in aid of SSAFA to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. It received its world premiere including a massed choir and military bands at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2018. The symphony is in four movements and each one reflects each year of the war – Praeludium (1914–1915), March (1915–1916), Elegy (1916–1917) and Finale (1917–1918). The music is set to the affecting words of war including Wilfred Owen's '1914'.